Updated: May 1, 2020
There is a wood where I grew up. We call it the Fairy Wood. My uncle would point out the fairy homes in the hollows of the trees. There were no paths in the wood. That is why there were so many fairies.
In India I sat on the beach and I wrote in the sand with my finger.
What are fairies but the spirits of the natural world, with its intermingled life and decay? When I bring the woods back to my mind, I can smell those twin scents; of the clean green shoots fused with the musty earthiness of rotting leaves. I wrote the words to that poem: My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings; look on my Works, ye Mighty, and despair.
When we call to the fairies, we simply call for connection to nature, to detail, to the embrace of life and the spirits of death, too.
I wrote the epitaph for Keats: One whose name was writ in water.
The fairies, for me, are present in the decay of the forest, the mushrooms, the ice on the frozen pond.
In China, years earlier, I watched a woman drawing words with water on the pavement. I was reading about bacteria this morning, how they are saprotrophic. They break down dead and damaged matter to release life. I think the fairies do that too, I think they understand it all more than we do.
They would fade,
and she would start again.