Poem of the Week: Dryad

By Mary Carolyn Davies

Dryad, hidden in this tree!
Break your bonds and talk to me!

No one’s watching, only peep
From your cave! The town’s asleep!

No one knows I stand here, so
Come! for they will never know!

Tell me what you think of here
When the moon is sharp and clear,

When the clouds are over you,
When the ground is wet with dew.

Dryad, are you happy, say!
Do you like to live this way?

I will keep your secrets well,
I will never, never tell!

Dryad, hidden in our tree,
Come, oh, come and talk to me!

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How to Make a Wetland Container

Ponds and wetlands are a wealth of diversity, but it’s challenging to observe what goes on beneath the surface of the water, or even know what lives there. Fortunately, there is a way to not only see what lives under the water, but to bring it home for long-term observation and study. Creating a wetland container is very simple and requires very few materials. Unlike a fish aquarium, no pumps or other special equipment is needed, and you may already have many of the materials on hand.

MATERIALS

JAR: The first thing you’ll need is a container for your wetland. It can be a large jar or any type of glass container. The container needs to have a wide opening to get materials in and out and also for maintenance. It’s also better…

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Poem of the Week: Wandering Clouds

By Edith Södergran

Wandering clouds have fastened themselves to the mountain’s edge,
for endless hours they stand in silence and wait:
if a chivvying wind wants to strew them over the plain
they should rise with the sun over the snow of the summits.
Wandering clouds have set themselves in the way of the sun,
the mourning pennants of everyday hang so heavily,
down in the valley life walks with dragging feet,
the sounds of a grand piano sing from open windows.
Strip upon strip is the valley’s motley carpet,
firm as sugar is the heights’ eternal snow…
The winter steps softly down into the valley.
The giants smile.

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Folklore & Nature: Fairy Butter

In Little Langdale the Busk and the Forge, the latter place only separated from our parish by the Brathay, were regularly visited by fairies — harmless little beings it would seem, of the house-goblin class, for their principal occupation seems to have been churning butter after the family had retired for the night. They were, however, rather thriftless little folk, for near the Forge it was common to find bits of butter scattered in the woods, dropped, it would seem, by the uncanny churners in their morning flight.

Hawkshead: the northernmost parish of Lancashire by Henry Swainson Cowper

There are many reports of fairy butter from around the UK and Ireland in folklore. In Scandinavia the same phenomenon was known as ‘troll’s butter’ while in Wales it was called ‘Menyn Tylna Teg’ and was…

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Poem of the Week: To All Four Winds

By Edith Södergran

No bird strays here into my hidden corner,
no black swallow that brings longing,
no white gull that tides a storm…
In the shadow of the rocks my wildness stays awake,
ready to fly at the slightest whisper, at approaching steps…
Soundless and blue is my world, blessed…
I have a door to all four winds.
I have a golden door to the east – for love that never comes,
I have a door for day and another for sadness,
I have a door for death – that one is always open.

Learn more about Edith Södergran

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Folklore & Nature: The Fairy Egg

The strandline is full of wonderful treasures. On the shoreline of the Hebrides the strandline might reveal skate egg cases, barnacle geese attached to driftwood, Aristotle’s lanterns or perhaps, a fairy egg. Residents of the Scottish Isles and other northern coasts, found the large, brown fairy eggs mysterious. Nearly hand sized, the buoyant eggs were hard like wood, flattened and sometimes heart-shaped. In addition to fairy eggs, they were also called strand-nuts or sea-nuts. In the Faroe Islands and Norway they were known as elf-kidneys. Their origins were a mystery. Some early naturalists believed they came from mysterious underwater plants like coral, seaweed or even a sea tree. Corals were often pulled up by fisherman so the world of underwater ‘plants’ was somewhat known, if still not fully understood. Other people believed they were the flotsam…

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Poem of the Week: Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage [There is a pleasure in the pathless woods]

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Folklore & Nature: The Night Bird

Ná déin é, ná déin é

If you happen to be on cliffs in the Faroe Islands, Scotland, Ireland or notably, the Isle of Man, at night during the summer, you may find yourself surrounded by an eerie moaning cry. Look as you may, the source remains hidden in the dark night. The ominous moaning sound has been the source of great speculation for centuries and created a belief the source of the noise was associated with death.

But can Waldron’s story (‘Description of the Isle of Man,’ 1731, Manx Soc., vol. xi. p. 67) of the spirit which haunted the coasts have originated in this noise. , described as infernal by modern writers ? ‘ The disturbed spirit of a person shipwrecked on a rock adjacent to this coast wanders about it still, and sometimes makes so…

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