The elven knight went riding with banners alizarin
as berries in snow, his face wan, lovesick longing.
Haunting his dreams was a snow-laden lass, fair
as a dying rose, iced into clarity by shattered glass.
In twos, in threes, went the Faerie Court, bells on toes, Gabriel’s
Hounds baying in the wasted harrow, to humble hut the elf knight goes.
“Oh but who art thou, fair visitor?” said the peasant girl,
her hair gray gold, her eyes pale, lips a frostbite plum.
The elven knight let his bridle down, and from his pockets
he’s taken an oath ring, and on bended knee he’s gone.
She was poverty-light, bird bones, high small breasts,
and she said “Twas better bread you gave me, fair elf.”
“I have no use for gold, to grow cold and
old with the dead in fairy mounds.”
“I have no use for silver, no use for jewels,
you cannot eat stone outside the fairy realms.”
“I have no use for you, proud knight, bold knight, elven
knight, but to fetch me the white hart for my supper.”
And so the elf knight has gone, banner bright,
to hunt in the King’s forest, peasant
aback his steed.
They rode through silver birch, they rode through gray oak, they rode through maple bright.
And the wind was a cutlass, and the white hart did elude, and in the harrows, the elf knight paused.
“What goes before you, strange elf knight?
Tis only moonlight, tis only the dancing fairies.”
And the elf knight did ride on. Pitter patter of scampering birds, darting leaves, the hart fled.
And from his back he’s drawn phoenix fletched arrows, which always strike true, and the hart he’s felled.
“Oh wild elf knight, oh eerie elf knight,
you must make this rare beast my supper
if me you would wed.”
So he’s skinned the hart, and roasted the meat, and
butchered it into all parts as equal rotations of the
(Latitude and longitude, distance and depth, in swimming schools of salmon, wisdom is often found.)
“Oh dear elf knight, this is to be my
meal on earth,
raise your oath ring, and kiss me cruelly.”
And so the elf knight has licked the deer fat off her lips,
and has bitten her neck, and blood rose like a spindle of
a witch’s loom, a thread red dead, and he has cut his
palm and pressed it to her lips, and she drank fair and true.
“Take me away from this eon, away from this day
where dead men play, away from this sorrowful world.”
So he has gone dancing with her, ghosts, into the harrow, down into the mounds, to eat stone
all their days.