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Iona Lee - Away With the Fairies

Well Versed is edited by Jody Porter

Away With the Fairies
Iona Lee

He has a way with the fairies.
I find him hiding at the bottom of the garden,
that's where they reside, he says.
By the dried leaves of last Autumn
and fruit stones turned to cyanide
when Summer starts to harden.

I find him pining by the tree stem,
by the stilt roots of screw pines
as thick as arms, as thick as brittle fingers.
They're as thick as thieves, he says,
I never see them.

When we met,
me wandering white,
plucking double roses
in the milk moon light,
my man he was a magic thing.
My Tam Lin, my changeling,
with a face that filled the sky,
a body stretched across the sea.
He was the twirling world back then
and the world belonged to me.

I gathered the skies like a skirt
in those immortal mornings
and made crowds of the clouds.
I let the sun sprout with every dawn,
reaching full flower as the day was drawn
across my eyes and over head.
Him, a manic pearl
in the world my oyster.
A cloister my maidenhead.

And who was I to deny the world what it wanted?
I bravely gave him all of me
for he was made of magic
and I an apple tree.

Though new and ludicrous
in the mercy of his means
and though green and golden mild
I was old of mind.
Enshrined in me was women's time-worn wisdom,
nature's half-heard whispers;
a transcendental tide.

My pride we know the way of things,
what youth and beauty brings.
The promises, the praise he sings,
his being but a shadow searching yours,
a fever only quenching cures.

But we're born strong.
Born storm,
born wrong.
I come from a long line of mornings
white as diamonds,
but I turned with time to watch the sunsets instead.
Let sweet, fruitless nothings numb my head.

As wit-withered
and wide eyes wilted
a son sprouted inside of me.
And, in turn, my Tam Lin
was turned in to a sea
that took my breath;
was turned in to a flame,
to death.
Was turned in to a wood
that took the light.
Was turned in to a mist
that took the night.

I held him as he kissed unsettling insects on my face,
I held him as he fell from grace
and worst of all I held his hand as Tam Lin waned
back in to what he always was.
Not made of magic
just made of man.



Iona is a 21-year-old poet, artist and performer from Edinburgh. She is an Illustration student at the Glasgow School of Art. Iona has performed at the Edinburgh Book Festival, StAnza, Glastonbury and other festivals. She has appeared on BBC Loop, Neu Reekie, Rally & Broad, Loud Poets, she has written for the Skinny and her work has appears in various magazines and anthologies. Iona won the title of Scottish Slam Champion in 2016.

Well Versed is edited by Jody Porter ([email protected])
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