The fairies and elves from the meadow have gone

To some sylvan spot, where no railroads are known,

Where no miners will dig through the bowels of earth

To disturb them, and drive them away from their hearth.

They are gone, I am sure; I have searched every nook,

By hillside, by wayside, by green mound, and brook,

No trace of their footsteps will be here seen again

They are all trodden out by the footsteps of men.

No more can the sound of their tripping be heard

As they dance in the moonlight around the green sward;

No; their music has ceased, and no more can be heard

To mingle its notes with the shy mocking bird.

Now, instead of the footprints of fairies, I see

The footprints of men, just returned from a spree,

With their pockets all empty, their head reeling round,

While an army of bottles lie strewn on the ground.

Now drinking and squabbling seem as much in vogue

That each neighbour thinks his next neighbour a rogue;

And while such sad doings and feelings remain,

We need never expect to see fairies again.

(Illawarra Mercury, May 8, 1884)


(THE IMAGES are not of FAIRY MEADOW on the Illawarra . They are images of Peter’s year in ‘08 evoked by the poem. )

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