The Fairies Danced

The fairies danced and shone like diamonds on
__The lake below. My pole across my knees;
__My creel on my lap; the sun and trees
__Stood still; the mountain breeze had passed and gone.
I sat on granite, smooth and cool, and chose
__A fly (a Royal Coachman) which I tied
__On tightly to my line.  Alone, I sighed,
__And smiled and paused and idly rubbed my nose.
I thought I was alone, but blur of white,
__Not seen, but sensed, alighted on my arm.
__A butterfly!  A gentle, weightless kiss
__And it was gone.  A gift of love so right
__And innocent.  My heart felt strangely warm.
__The Realm of God must surely be like this.


Sierra Song

No sound is heard but a whisper in the air;
Vast chasms echo the light of granite’s gleam.
The scent of pine and of juniper are there
And heaven is found in every brook and stream.

Hiking a trail where the air is thin and clear;
Blue skies above reflect mountain lakes below.
Brook trout and Rainbows await us drawing near
Through meadows of flowers and sparkling fields of snow.

Chill is the morning and warm the afternoon.
Thunderclouds billow, the hours pass away.
Sunset of fire and the rising of the moon;
The shadows breathe peace, and darkness shrouds the day


James A. Tweedie is a recently retired pastor living in Long Beach, Washington. He likes to walk on the beach with his wife. He has written and self-published four novels and a collection of short stories. He has several hundred unpublished poems tucked away in drawers.


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13 Responses

  1. Bruce Wren

    Very nice, “The Fairies Danced”: simple, unpretentious, last four lines very effective. My only suggestion would be to find a different title: doesn’t seem to fit. Oh yes, “Royal Coachman” is also effective in Idaho streams… (lol).

  2. Joe Tessitore

    These are so beautiful, James – so descriptive, so transporting.
    The Realm of God surely is like this!

  3. Monty

    I find Sierra Song to be a very concise and vividly-descriptive offering, James: but I couldn’t help noticing how simply it could be enhanced (from a purely personal perspective) if the 8th Line were to read: ‘Through meadows of flowers; sparkling fields of snow’. That would achieve syllabic-equality (11) within all 12 Lines.

    • James A. Tweedie

      Rewriting the word “flowers” as “flow’rs” would serve the same purpose, and is how I supposed the line would be read.

      • Monty

        Yeah, I see what yer saying, James. As it happens: ‘flowers’ is not the easiest word in which to lose a syllable . . while still maintaining that the reader need not hesitate as to what the intended word is. It’s a tough one.

    • E. V. "Beth" Wyler

      Regarding Sierra Song’s 8th line, I’d try: “… through meadows of flowers, sparkling like snowfields.” However, Mr. Tweedie had a preference for his own carefully-selected wording, which he may or may not choose to share, but (either way), Sierra Song is composed of beautiful, lovely verse. I enjoyed reading your poem, Mr. Tweedie.

  4. Amy Foreman

    “Sierra Song” reminded me of my childhood in the Rocky Mountains, catching brook trout, German browns, cutthroats, and rainbows in the cold, high, snow-fed lakes and streams. Lovely, evocative imagery, James!

  5. Fr. Richard Libby

    I enjoyed these beautifully descriptive poems very much!

  6. B. S. Eliud Acrewe

    I agree with Mr. Wren’s acute observation, the title “The Fairies Danced” should be changed, as the starting words are merely part of that rather interesting metaphoric simile, with which Mr. Tweedie opens his poem. Of the two poems, I prefer the first for its artistry, its imagery, and its tone. Time and again I am surprised by Mr. Tweedie’s seemingly unconscious forays into the backwaters of English literature—even more so than present-day poets from England. I feel like I have brushed the shades of Izaak Walton and John Bunyan. Who does that in the New Millennium—some retired pastor on the rainy shores of the Pacific Ocean in Washington state? The enclosed-rhyme quatrains slow the movement in the octave, allowing for the setting of the scene. The second quatrain is superb, and is for me the peak of the poem. I particularly like the nice touch “(a Royal Coachman).” And then the sestet rapidly descends, butterfly-like, to a rather Wordsworthian warmth.

    Mr. Tweedie’s talent is certainly evident in “Sierra Song,” in the tuneful words, music, and song; and here too he seems to be striving after an abstract Wordsworthian effect. But in this poem he is pushing against the iambic pentametre. It is as if Wordsworth were striving for Whitmanic effects in Thompson-like dulcetry.

  7. James A. Tweedie

    Thank you, Bruce. Your final sentence would look nice as an endorsement on the back of some future collection of my poetry.

    “It is as if Wordsworth were striving for Whitmanic effects in Thompson-like dulcetry.”

    At least I think it is an endorsement! lol

    In any case, to be mentioned in the same breath as Izaak Walton and John Bunyan (among others) is most certainly more than I deserve. In any case, I’m glad so many of you enjoyed the poems.


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