Keep Them Secret, Keep Them Safe


When I was a boy
The clouds were dragons, vast, mighty
With the night gathering beneath their wings
Their purple blue orange gold red flaming breath
Carving the sunset out of the midnight lapis horizon
Turning trees and mountains and houses
Into the black shadows of themselves,
Theater scenery backdrops
Setting the stage for new dreams.

I’ve never encountered an average city street
Even by daylight I can always find the strangeness
The rumble beneath the grating
Isn’t the subway, it is breathing
Chthonic stentorian snorts and gasps
Rattling windows that sometimes reflect
Showers of sparks from nowhere
That settle upon the hair and eyelashes
Of all the girls and boys
Revealing the princes and princesses
Whichever they might be.

I’ve followed streams that were the trench dug
By giant’s clubs as they climbed back to the heights
Fee fi foe fumming, bending the trees like blades of grass
I’ve seen the thrones of trolls
Scattered about with the bleached stoney bones of their foes
Watched as a nymph winked at me when she was a badger
Walked alone through vast throngs
Of fair folk and fine, dancing to their tunes
(Though not for a hundred years, for I know the steps
And the trick of them)
Drunk upon a thousand and one tales.

See, I kept the glasses, kept them secret, kept them safe
Most get lost or worse still cracked
The lenses fixed upon youth’s eyes in the beginning
The visions of castles and caves of wonders,
Boxes that hold songs, even whole worlds
Soon fade, become forgotten, or skewed and horrible,
Twisting minds and bodies
Into shapes of rage and terror and hate
Always be wary of the broken ones
Wary, but help them see right and true again if you can
Remember, the helpful will in their turn be helped
It says so in the faerie tales and they never lie.

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