The Sheerie by Richard H. Fay


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Post November 19, 2009, 01:15:31 PM

The Sheerie by Richard H. Fay

In case anyone was wondering, I once again dipped into the well of fairy folklore for inspiration for this cinquain. More specifically, I once more delved into the connections between the realm of fairy and the realm of the dead.

The sheerie are said to be the spirits of unbaptised children imbued with fairy magic and dangerously jealous of the living. They appear as tiny beings shimmering with a corpse-light glow, or dark goblins carrying burning lengths of straw, or nothing more than glimmering lights darting about in the fashion of will-of-the-wisps. No matter the form they take, the sheerie delight in causing the living misfortune. They have the power to derange unprotected humans, often with fatal consequences.

There doesn't seem to be much written about the sheerie in most books about fairy lore; they aren't even in Katharine Briggs' An Encyclopedia of Fairies. Perhaps because they are considered to be the spirits of dead human children, many scholars of fairy folklore may feel that the sheerie shouldn't be included among the ranks of the fay (just a guess on my part - I could be wrong). And I think a lot of the current New Age thought regarding the fair folk often disregards their frequently less-than-fair nature. The sheerie are at the same time sad and frightful, definitely not the friendly butterfly-winged garden fairies of Victorian fancy.

However, Dr. Bob Curran does include the sheerie in his A Field Guide to Irish Fairies. That's where I got my information, and that's where I found my inspiration.
"I'm going to do what the warriors of old did. I'm going to recite poetry!"

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Post November 19, 2009, 08:21:55 PM

Poem type?

Taking a break from Haiku, we now have a 2-4-6-8-2. Does this have a name?
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Post November 19, 2009, 09:47:51 PM

Poems of this form are called cinquains, which I believe is the general term for poems or stanzas of five-lines. Specifically, this is supposed to be a cinquain following the form developed by Adelaide Crapsey, although I probably play fast and loose with metre. A Crapsey-esque cinquain should follow the syllable pattern 2-4-6-8-2, generally in iambic metre.

Ideally, such poems should also have a turn in the last line or the second-to-last line, similar to the twist in the final couplet of a sonnet. Cinquains of this type should work up to a climax and then fall back to a final "punch line". It might be argued that I don't always strictly adhere to this rule either, but I try.

In some ways, I may prefer cinquains over haiku. I like having a couple more lines, a few more syllables, to play with language.

By the way, here is a link to some works by Adelaide Crapsey, including several of her cinquains:
http://theotherpages.org/poems/crapsey1.html
"November Night" is one of my personal favourites.
"I'm going to do what the warriors of old did. I'm going to recite poetry!"

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