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The first morning in May
I sit in my tower,
in the window of my
bower, sewing a shroud
as white as the daisies
that bloom upon the field.

The first morning in May
I hear the blowing of
his elven horn and the
drumming of his fae steed’s
hooves over the field where
the daisies bloom bone white.

The first morning in May
I sit in my tower
and wish for a husband
as did my sisters sweet,
six in number, as his
horn blows over the field.

The first morning in May
he leaps to my window
where I sit and sew a
bone white shroud. Fair maiden,
says he, I have heard your
plea, and come to claim you.

The first morning in May
to the elf knight I say,
Kind sir, the youngest I
am, and the last. Will you
not leave me to the care
of my parents most dear?

The first morning in May
in the window of my
bower, the elf knight does
smile and say, Six brides
I have claimed, and seven
you shall be, yea or nay.

The first morning in May
down from my tower we
climb, shroud as my veil. We
leap on his fae steed and
ride o’er the white field to
the green of the greenwood.

The first morning in May
the elf knight smiles and
says unto me, Take heart,
fair maiden, for here you
shall die, but you shall lie
among your sisters sweet.

The first morning in May
we lay in the greenwood.
With the shroud I slay him,
a noose, a snare, a trap.
With the shroud I lay him
among bones white and sweet.

The first morning in May
midst the greenwood and the
bones, to the elf knight I
say, Six you have claimed. Six
you have slain. Here you shall
lie, husband to them all.

 

[Author’s Note: inspired by “Lady Isabel and the Elf-Knight” from The English and Scottish Popular Ballads (1882-1898), edited by Francis James Child.]



Rebecca Buchanan is the editor of the Pagan literary ezine Eternal Haunted Summer. Her work has appeared in a variety of venues, including Abyss & Apex, Enchanted Conversation, Eye to the Telescope, and Star*Line. Her next poetry collection, Not a Princess, But (Yes) There Was a Pea, and Other Fairy Tales to Foment Revolution will be released later this year by Jackanapes Press.
Current Issue
30 Jan 2023

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