Friday, June 19, 2009

Poe Fridays: The Island of the Fay

This week's Poe Fridays offering was the short story The Island of the Fay. You can read it here.

This was mostly a musing on a personal experience of nature with a short tale at the end about an island in a small river --
My position enabled me to include in a single view both the eastern and western extremities of the islet; and I observed a singularly-marked difference in their aspects. The latter was all one radiant harem of garden beauties. It glowed and blushed beneath the eyes of the slant sunlight, and fairly laughed with flowers. The grass was short, springy, sweet-scented, and Asphodel-interspersed. The trees were lithe, mirthful, erect -- bright, slender, and graceful, -- of eastern figure and foliage, with bark smooth, glossy, and parti-colored. There seemed a deep sense of life and joy about all; and although no airs blew from out the heavens, yet every thing had motion through the gentle sweepings to and fro of innumerable butterflies, that might have been mistaken for tulips with wings.

The other or eastern end of the isle was whelmed in the blackest shade. A sombre, yet beautiful and peaceful gloom here pervaded all things. The trees were dark in color, and mournful in form and attitude, wreathing themselves into sad, solemn, and spectral shapes that conveyed ideas of mortal sorrow and untimely death. The grass wore the deep tint of the cypress, and the heads of its blades hung droopingly, and hither and thither among it were many small unsightly hillocks, low and narrow, and not very long, that had the aspect of graves, but were not; although over and all about them the rue and the rosemary clambered. The shade of the trees fell heavily upon the water, and seemed to bury itself therein, impregnating the depths of the element with darkness. I fancied that each shadow, as the sun descended lower and lower, separated itself sullenly from the trunk that gave it birth, and thus became absorbed by the stream; while other shadows issued momently from the trees, taking the place of their predecessors thus entombed.

A fay is a fairy and the end of this tale is the imagining of the fairy's life cycle. This was really a fantasy piece with Poe imagining that there is a sort of earth spirit that you can connect with in nature. As we read more of these works by Poe, we come to see that his work is far more diverse than we are lead to believe.

For next week, let's read the brief poem An Enigma. Hopefully it will not remain so for long.

Looking for the hidden side of nature,

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