By D.J. Conway

By the fern brake, deep and shady,

There I met an elfin lady.

Dressed in cobweb silk and flowers,

There she whiled away the hours,

                  Waiting until dark.

On the soft green moss beside her,

Lay a baby wrapped in eider.

Skin so fair and hair like midnight,

The lady watched the coming twilight,

                  Waiting till ‘twas dark.

Elves 1

Silently, I sat beside her,

Hoping for some words to gather

In my numb and startled mind.

Said the lady, “you’re most kind

                  To wait with me till dark.”

“Are you lost?” I asked the lady.

“Is this your home, this fern brake shady?

Will others come by star and Moon?”

She only smiled, began to croon

                  To the elfin child.

The baby slept. The lady told me

Deep magic of the Earth and Sea.

Spells she whispered, strong and old.

“Use them well,” she said. “Be bold

                  When spelling in the night.


“Can I work these?” The lady smiled,

Gathered up her sleeping child.

“Oh yes,” she answered, “Tis a boon

For waiting with me till the Moon

                  Slips up the sky.

Thinking deep, I sat beside her,

Keeping watch, I heard the rider

Coming through the fern brake shady.

“Are you there, my lovely lady?”

                  Called an elfin voice.

An elfin lord, his clothes all viney,

Armed with sword and dagger shiny,

Rode his horse into the fern brake.

Then my heart began to quake

                  On seeing his dark eyes.

Twilight gathered; birds were still.

The Moon came up above the hill.

Suddenly I felt alone.

“Have no fear, for you have sown

                  Good friendship.”

The lady smiled and raised her hand.

Upon her brow a shining band

Glistened by the light of Moon.

“Would you too give forth a boon?”

                  She asked her lord.

“For here is friend, a watcher bold.”

“But they are enemies of old,”

The elf lord answered.

“No,” she said,

“But guarded us in this fern bed.”

                  He smiled.

“So there are some who wish us well.”

His voice was like a distant bell.

A ring he took from off his hand.

“This will tune you to the land

                  And magic.”

Its stone was pale, just like the Moon.

The air was filled with eldritch tune,

As they mounted, lord and lady.

Rode off through the fern brake shady.

                  I stood alone.

People say elves are not there.

But I have heard their voices fair,

When I sit down in the brake.

Magic spells I’ve learned to make

                  All from the lady.

Elf lord’s ring is on my hand.

To help with magic from the land.

Sometimes I talk with lord and lady

In the fern brake, deep and shady,


Is there magic? For me ‘tis so.

For when the sun is sinking low,

I feel Earth’s power within my heart

And know that I shall never part

                  From the lord and lady.