“Take the Fair Face of Woman…” Sophie Gengembre Anderson, 1869, Wikipedia.

Campfire tales we told, strange but familiar
To our time and clans, glen-secluded fairies,
Dwelling amidst mossy stones, gnarled tree
Roots, water-trickling melodies, for islanders,
We so shared our home, holy places Druids
Revered, bloodletting curses, eye-deceiving
Spells, protected these tiny wingéd lights.
Did we believe? Matter of learning, choice,
Sweet-singing dragonflies, shape-changing
Charmers, source of joys, ill-fated regrets.

Spark-rising smoke, more peat upon fires
Fueled, how these deities petite offered,
Demanded love, manipulations of human
Hearts, luminescent pleasures of rapid-
Beating hearts, sweet-succulent scents,
Flesh-enflamed appetites, thus accounts
Once told of young lovers venturing into
Secretive realms, sylvan streams sipping,
Angelic face, yearning arms, rosy breasts
From tree-entangled vines, shape-shifted.

O, first and instant sights, how can one
Ringéd betrothed instantly love another?
To all this, I, Willow, listened-believed as
Elder gypsy woman, fire-gazing, spun her
Fairytale. “No soul-salve I have but share
My account, witnessed and life-haunting,
Captivating creature, part angel, daemon,
Long-limbed lover, by one honeyed kiss,
Seduced my young man, vines enwreathed,
Sanguined buds blooming.”

Full title of Anderson’s photo: “Take the Fair Face of Woman, and Gently
Suspending, With Butterflies, Flowers, and Jewels Attending, Thus Your
Fairy is Made of Most Beautiful Things.”
Thanks for reading.

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