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Fife Writes

Alastair Potter - Faerie Picnic

A tartan shawl is spread across the

jagged tangle of storm-cast autumn twigs and

bulging chestnut husks.


We sit, and then each adult produces their contribution;

        a little cheese,

        some oatcakes,

        a bottle of red wine,

        oranges and apples,

 - all are laid about the shawl.


A pause as no-one eats,

the smiling wonder of our youngest traveller

holding us in thrall as she absorbs the sights and sounds around her;

        the erratic dance of mottled light on the uneven ground,

        the rustle of wind through the fragile canopy of branches.


A biscuit is prepared with a sliver of cheese,

and with a gleeful smile the child’s tiny hand curls about the food.

Contented she chews, but still she watches.


We adults partake in food and gentle conversation.

Possibly the wine is too strong?

Too full of dark fruit for such a Faery place,

maybe it should be softer, flowery and a little sweet,

just enough to fight the acid bite of orange segments,

sour enough to raise comment, but still eaten.

The apples are sweet though, and crisp, and hard in the cool air.


The picnic lasts long enough

for the ground’s chill to creep through the uneven carpet beneath us -

it's time to go.


The shawl is shaken,

and a few cheesy crumbs, and oatcake bits, find their way to the earth.

Meager offerings to the Faeries -

but they won't mind.

I'm sure the company of child,

and childish innocence,

was reward enough, for them.

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