SPOTLIGHT: What Lies Beneath by Maggie D. Brace

 Dread Faeries’ Mischievous Deeds

Stag beetles scamper upon the heath
where highway men once trod.
Now lazy picnickers lie beneath
asleep upon the sod.

An otherworld lies near the bog,
unbeknownst to men,
who heedlessly walk their dog,
and tumble into the fen.

Lurking amidst the pen ponds
wee fairy folk lie in wait,
they slip from their fae bonds
to gather at garden’s gate.

Planning their mischievous deeds,
they gambol and caper away.
Hiding betwixt the sedge and reeds,
they giggle away the day.

All escapades and pulling pranks
they wile away the hours,
pushing tourists down grassy banks
and pulling the heads off flowers.

Hiding stinkweed in the heath
and tripping up the runners,
sprinkling itch powder beneath
and butter atop the sunners.

Their naughty day is over too soon.
The faeries fly home for bed.
Lying below the crescent moon,
plotting their next day of dread.

           Along the Lazy Gunpowder River

Ensconced within our tubular crafts, with dangling arms and feet,
we slowly traverse down the river, attempting to beat the heat.

The morning mist lingers long as we slip amongst the stones.
The little ones cause us no harm, the larger bruise our bones.

Tubing by the nodding ferns, slipping past the forest floor,
the mighty river trundles us onward, greeting us with its roar.

Fisherman, with legs akimbo, reel out their translucent lines,
while gawking deer stand poised to run, nestled beneath the pines.

Slow and deep the current runs, then shallow, swift and raucous.
The twittering birds dip bills to drink, then resume their caucus.

Fuzzy owlets peer down at us as we navigate ox bow turn,
while salamander and twisting newt regard us with concern.

Dangling vines and dipping branches swathe us in their arms.
Beaver gnaw and fox hole scat, just a few of many quaint charms.

This pulsing waterway is life-filled, magical, and long.
cradling us in majestic beauty, accompanied by nature’s song.

Winter Sentinels

Our Hollow was quilted in a crisp white layer, cloud laden skies pressing down upon us.
The crunch of our sinuous movements echoing eerily through the woods.
My skis slid smoothly in the unblemished blanket, scritch-scritching in a rhythmic beat.
The birds, seeking to escape our intrusion, flew aloft in unison, then wheeled northward.
Heavy breaths forming icy crystals, escaped effortlessly from my lips.
An ominous hush envelops us, as we pause to take in the winter spectacle.

Following the curving path through the forest, we press onward and upward.
Filtered light shimmers down through the snow laden pines, playing tricks on our eyes.
Adjusting to the looming darkness, catching sight of flickering movements, we pause.
What forest creatures beleaguer us? Shadowy silhouettes teem about the trees.
Clawing branches tear at our hair, gnarled roots engulf our skis, cones pelt us from above.
Sinister slavering sounds send shivers down our spines, sending us once again on our way.

Frozen in time, a waterfall spirals and careens in its tortured path toward earth.
Fooling our eyes with seeming visual movement that never stirs, yet is in constant motion.
I imagine fearsome faces embedded in the crystalline ice in league with the tree sentinels.
Body tired and chilled to the core, we navigate homeward in unspoken duality of fear.
Warmed on the inside by potent potables, and crisped on the outside by the hearth,
We entwine and reminisce on our winter playday filled with fearsome, fantastical beasts.

   Fey Adventure

Siafra gently folded
her gossamer wings
about the crocus bloom.

Protecting the tender petals
from the nippy snap
of winter’s last hurrah.

Trailing her auburn locks
in the freshly falling snow,
She snuggled and nodded off.

Awoken with a start,
engulfed in a soggy mitten
she sputtered in anger.

Fiona’s eyes peered in awe
at her captured prey,
unclasping, she smiled shyly.

“Pardon me, sweet faerie,
I didn’t mean no harm,
off you shoo! Ta”

Pleased with the politeness,
Siafra forgave her momentary capture,
and fluttered off in frolicking freedom.

     Pensive Frolic

A pensive frolic through winters past we’ll take:
Muffling silence greets me as I awake,
The slanting brightness confirms overnight snow.
Toes curled, anticipating, ready to go.

Layer upon layer bedecks my wee frame,
rendering me hulking, unhappy, and lame.
Enrobed to the satisfaction of mother,
I trek outside, with big and bigger brother.

Ginger precedes us, her moist, black nose kept low,
leaving paw prints and hot, steaming yellow snow.
Stepping carefully in my brothers’ boot marks,
I listen to her steam-spewing, joyful barks.

Merriment ensuing is etched in my heart.
Angels, sleds and snow forts all play a big part.
We frolic and hoot till we can’t feel our toes,
we gambol for hours, with dripping wet nose.

At last, we trek homeward, too tired to go on.
We yank off our wet layers, stifling a yawn.
Mother serves us cocoa and cozies our bed.
Fond memories remaining in heart and head.


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