More Delightful Goodies from Rose Fyleman

28 Dec

Part of the delight in reading Ms. Fyleman’s poems is the structure, which I’ve duplicated below (the restrictions of HTML combined with WordPress did not make this easy!). Enjoy!



UPON the terrace where I play 
A little fountain sings all day 
            A tiny tune; 
It leaps and prances in the air 
I saw a little fairy there 
            This afternoon. 
The jumping fountain never stops 
He sat upon the highest drops 
            And bobbed about; 
His legs were waving in the sun, 
He seemed to think it splendid fun 
            I heard him shout. 
The sparrows watched him from a tree, 
A robin bustled up to see 
            Along the path: 
I thought my wishing-bone would break, 
I wished so much that I could take 
            A fairy bath. 
THE best game the fairies play, 
      The best game of all, 
Is sliding down steeples 
      (You know they're very tall). 
You fly to the weathercock, 
      And when you hear it crow 
You fold your wings and clutch your things 
      And then let go! 
They have a million other games 
      Cloud-catching's one, 
And mud-mixing after rain 
      Is heaps and heaps of fun; 
But when you go and stay with them 
      Never mind the rest, 
Take my advice they're very nice, 
      But steeple-sliding's best! 
HAVE you watched the fairies when the rain is done 
Spreading out their little wings to dry them in the sun? 
            I have, I have! Isn't it fun? 
Have you heard the fairies all among the limes 
Singing little fairy tunes to little fairy rhymes? 
            I have, I have, lots and lots of times! 
Have you seen the fairies dancing in the air, 
And dashing off behind the stars to tidy up their hair? 
            I have, I have; I've been there! 



THE child next door has a wreath on her hat, 
Her afternoon frock sticks out like that, 
      All soft and frilly; 
She doesn't believe in fairies at all 
(She told me over the garden wall) 
      She thinks they're silly. 
The child next door has a watch of her own, 
She has shiny hair and her name is Joan 
      (Mine's only Mary), 
But doesn't it seem very sad to you 
To think that she never her whole life through 
      Has seen a fairy? 


DADDY goes a-riding in a motor painted grey, 
He makes a lot of snorty noise before he gets away; 
The fairies go a-riding when they wish to take their ease, 
The fairies go a-riding on the backs of bumble-bees. 
Daddy goes a-sailing in a jolly wooden boat, 
He takes a lot of tackle and his very oldest coat; 
The fairies go a-sailing, and I wonder they get home, 
The fairies go a-sailing on a little scrap of foam. 
Daddy goes a-climbing with a knapsack and a stick, 
The rocks are very hard and steep, his boots are very thick; 
But the fairies go a-climbing (I've seen them there in crowds), 
The fairies go a-climbing on the mountains in the clouds. 


WHEN mother comes each morning 
      She wears her oldest things, 
She doesn't make a rustle, 
      She hasn't any rings; 
She says, "Good-morning, chickies, 
      It's such a lovely day, 
Let's go into the garden 
      And have a game of play!" 
When mother comes at tea-time 
      Her dress goes shoo-shoo-shoo,
She always has a little bag, 
      Sometimes a sunshade too; 
She says, "I am so hoping 
      There's something left for me; 
Please hurry up, dear Nanna, 
      I'm dying for my tea." 
When mother comes at bed-time 
      Her evening dress she wears, 
She tells us each a story 
      When we have said our prayers; 
And if there is a party 
      She looks so shiny bright 
It's like a lovely fairy 
      Dropped in to say good-night. 


ALTHOUGH it has a jolly name 
Cat's cradle is a funny game 
I like to play it all the same. 
It's easy when you first begin, 
But when it goes all long and thin 
I daren't put my fingers in. 
If mother's anywhere about 
We stand against the door and shout 
Until she comes and helps us out. 
Her fingers look so long and white, 
Her rings are very sparkly bright, 
She almost always gets it right. 


WHEN I was very ill in bed 
      The fairies came to visit me; 
They danced and played around my head, 
      Tho' other people couldn't see. 
Across the end a railing goes 
      With bars and balls and twisted rings, 
And there they jiggled on their toes 
      And did the wonderfullest things. 
They balanced on the golden balls, 
      They jumped about from bar to bar, 
And then they fluttered to the walls 
      Where coloured birds and flowers are. 

I watched them darting in and out,

      I watched them gaily climb and cling, 
While all the flowers moved about 
      And all the birds began to sing. 
And when it was no longer light 
      I felt them up my pillows creep, 
And there they sat and sang all night- 
      I heard them singing in my sleep.


      I WISH I liked rice pudding,
      I wish I were a twin, 
I wish some day a real live fairy 
      Would just come walking in. 
      I wish when I'm at table 
      My feet would touch the floor, 
I wish our pipes would burst next winter, 
      Just like they did next door. 
      I wish that I could whistle 
      Real proper grown-up tunes, 
I wish they'd let me sweep the chimney
      On rainy afternoons. 
      I've got such heaps of wishes, 
      I've only said a few; 
I wish that I could wake some morning 
      And find they'd all come true! 

thewishfairyTHE BALLOON MAN

HE always comes on market days, 
      And holds balloons a lovely bunch 
And in the market square he stays, 
      And never seems to think of lunch. 
They're red and purple, blue and green, 
      And when it is a sunny day 
Tho' carts and people get between 
      You see them shining far away. 
And some are big and some are small, 
      All tied together with a string, 
And if there is a wind at all 
      They tug and tug like anything. 
Some day perhaps he'll let them go 
      And we shall see them sailing high, 
And stand and watch them from below-- 
      They would look pretty in the sky!balloons2


THE air around was trembling-bright 
And full of dancing specks of light, 
While butterflies were dancing too 
Between the shining green and blue. 
I might not watch, I might not stay, 
I ran along the meadow way. 
The straggling brambles caught my feet, 
The clover field was, oh! so sweet; 
I heard a singing in the sky, 
And busy things went buzzing by; 
And how it came I cannot tell, 
But all the hedges sang as well. 
Along the clover-field I ran 
To where the little wood began, 
And there I understood at last 
Why I had come so far, so fast 
On every leaf of every tree 
A fairy sat and smiled at me! 


DANCE, little friend, little friend breeze, 
Low among the hedgerows, high among the trees; 
Fairy partners wait for you, oh, do not miss your chance, 
      Dance, little friend, dance! 
Sing, little friend, little friend stream, 
Softly through the mossy nooks where fairies lie and dream; 
Sweetly by the rushes where fairies sway and swing, 
      Sing, little friend, sing! 
Shine, little friend, little friend moon, 
The fairies will have gathered in the forest very soon; 
Send your gleaming silver darts where thick the branches twine, 
      Shine, little friend, shine! 


IF you will come and stay with us 
      You shall not want for ease; 
We'll swing you on a cobweb 
      Between the forest trees. 
And twenty little singing birds 
      Upon a flowering thorn 
Shall hush you every evening 
      And wake you every morn. 
If you will come and stay with us 
      You need not miss your school, 
A learned toad shall teach you, 
      High-perched upon his stool. 
And he will tell you many things 
      That none but fairies know 
The way the wind goes wandering, 
      And how the daisies grow. 
If you will come and stay with us 
      You shall not lack, my dear. 
The finest fairy raiment, 
      The best of fairy cheer. 
We'll send a million glow-worms out, 
      And slender chains of light 
Shall make a shining pathway 
      Then why not come to-night? 


BLIND folk see the fairies, 
      Oh, better far than we, 
Who miss the shining of their wings 
Because our eyes are filled with things 
      We do not wish to see. 
They need not seek enchantment 
      From solemn, printed books, 
For all about them as they go 
The fairies flutter to and fro 
      With smiling, friendly looks. 
Deaf folk hear the fairies 
      However soft their song; 
'Tis we who lose the honey sound 
Amid the clamour all around 
      That beats the whole day long. 
But they with gentle faces 
      Sit quietly apart; 
What room have they for sorrowing 
While fairy minstrels sit and sing 
      Close to their listening heart? 

fairy-playing-fluteTHERE USED TO BE–

THERE used to be fairies in Germany-- 
      I know, for I've seen them there 
In a great cool wood where the tall trees stood 
      With their heads high up in the air; 
They scrambled about in the forest 
      And nobody seemed to mind; 
They were dear little things (tho' they didn't have wings) 
      And they smiled and their eyes were kind. 
What, and oh what were they doing 
      To let things like this? 
How could it be? And didn't they see 
      That folk were going amiss? 
Were they too busy playing, 
      Or can they perhaps have slept, 
That never they heard an ominous word 
      That stealthily crept and crept? 

There used to be fairies in Germany–

      The children will look for them still; 
They will search all about till the sunlight slips out 
      And the trees stand frowning and chill. 
"The flowers," they will say, "have all vanished, 
      And where can the fairies be fled 
That played in the fern?" The flowers will return, 
      But I fear that the fairies are dead. 


IF I were a bird with a dear little nest 
      I should always be going for flights, 
I'd fly to the North and the South and the West 
      And see all the wonderful sights. 
I'd perch on the point of the very tall spires, 
      And race with the insects and bees, 
And there would be parties on telegraph wires, 
      And school at the top of the trees. 
If I were a fairy and lived in a flower, 
      What fun, oh, what fun it would be ! 
I'm certain I never should sleep for an hour, 
      And I'd always have honey for tea ; 
And never a stocking or shoe would I wear, 
      Nor ever a hat on my head, 
And no one would tell me to tidy my hair, 
      And no one would send me to bed. 
If I were a duchess in satin and pearls, 
      I'd curtsey like this and like this ; 
I'd graciously smile at the lords and the earls, 
      And give them my fingers to kiss. 
And mother should dress all in silver and pink, 
      And daddy in silver and green, 
And off we should go in a coach, only think, 
      To live with the King and the Queen! 


THE fairies have never a penny to spend, 
      They haven't a thing put by, 
But theirs is the dower of bird and of flower 
      And theirs are the earth and the sky. 
And though you should live in a palace of gold 
      Or sleep in a dried-up ditch, 
You could never be poor as the fairies are, 
      And never as rich. 
Since ever and ever the world began 
      They have danced like a ribbon of flame, 
They have sung their song through the centuries long 
      And yet it is never the same. 
And though you be foolish or though you be wise, 
      With hair of silver or gold, 
You could never be young as the fairies are, 
      And never as old. 


PEACOCKS sweep the fairies' rooms; 
They use their folded tails for brooms; 
But fairy dust is brighter far 
Than any mortal colours are; 
And all about their tails it clings 
In strange designs of rounds and rings; 
And that is why they strut about 
And proudly spread their feathers out. 

fairypeacockTHE CUCKOO

THE cuckoo is a tell-tale, 
      A mischief-making bird; 
He flies to East, he flies to West 
And whispers into every nest 
      The wicked things he's heard; 
He loves to spread his naughty lies, 
He laughs about it as he flies; 
"Cuckoo," he cries, "cuckoo, cuckoo, 
      It's true, it's true." 
And when the fairies catch him 
      His busy wings they dock, 
They shut him up for evermore 
(He may not go beyond the door) 
      Inside a wooden clock; 
Inside a wooden clock he cowers 
And has to tell the proper hours 
"Cuckoo," he cries, "cuckoo, cuckoo, 
      It's true, it's true. "

warriorfairy2THE ROOKS

HIGH in the elm-trees sit the rooks, 
Or flit about with busy looks 
      And solemn, ceaseless caws. 
Small wonder they are so intent, 
They are the fairies' Parliament 
      They make the fairy laws. 
They never seem to stop all day, 
And you can hear from far away 
      Their busy chatter-chat. 
They work so very hard indeed 
You'd wonder that the fairies need 
      So many laws as that. 

raven-and-fairyTHE ROBIN

THE robin is the fairies' page; 
      They keep him neatly dressed 
For country service or for town 
In dapper livery of brown 
      And little scarlet vest. 
On busy errands all day long 
      He hurries to and fro 
With watchful eyes and nimble wings-- 
There are not very many things. 
      The robin doesn't know. 
And he can tell you, if he will, 
      The latest fairy news: 
The quaint adventures of the King, 
And whom the Queen is visiting, 
      And where she gets her shoes. 
And lately, when the fairy Court 
      Invited me to tea, 
He stood behind the Royal Chair; 
And here, I solemnly declare, 
When he discovered I was there, 
      That robin winked at me. 

whitefairyTHE COCK

THE kindly cock is the fairies' friend, 
He warns them when their revels must end; 
He never forgets to give the word, 
For the cock is a thoroughly punctual bird. 
And since he grieves that he never can fly, 
Like all the other birds, up in the sky, 
The fairies put him now and again 
High on a church for a weather-vane. 
Little for sun or for rain he cares; 
He turns about with the proudest airs 
And chuckles with joy as the clouds go past 
To think he is up in the sky at last. 

sunrisefairyTHE GROUSE

THE grouse that lives on the moorland wide 
Is filled with a most ridiculous pride; 
He thinks that it all belongs to him 
And every one else must obey his whim. 
When the queer wee folk who live on the moors 
Come joyfully leaping out of their doors 
To frisk about on the warm sweet heather 
Laughing and chattering all together, 
He looks askance at their rollicking play 
And calls to them in the angriest way: 
"You're a feather-brained, foolish, frivolous pack, 
Go back, you rascally imps, go back!" 
But little enough they heed his shout; 
Over the rocks they tumble about; 
They chase each other over the ling; 
They kick their heels in the heather and sing; 
"Oho, Mr. Grouse, you'd best beware 
Or some fine day, if you don't take care, 
The witch who lives in the big brown bog 
With a wise old weasel, a rat and a frog, 
Will come a-capering over the fell 
And put you under a horrible spell; 
Your feathers will moult and your voice will crack-- 
Go back, you silly old bird, go back!" 

fairytreeTHE SKYLARK

OF all the birds the fairies love the skylark much the best; 
They come with little fairy gifts to seek his hidden nest; 
They praise his tiny slender feet and silken suit of brown, 
And with their gentle hands they smooth his feathers softly down. 
They cluster round with glowing cheeks and bright expectant eyes, 
Waiting the moment that shall bring the freedom of the skies; 
Waiting the double-sweet delight that only he can give, 
(Oh, kings might surely spurn their crowns to live as fairies live). 
To ride upon a skylark's back between his happy wings, 
To float upon the edge of heaven and listen while he sings 
The dreams of mortals scarce can touch so perfected a bliss,
And even fairies cannot know a greater joy than this.


4 Responses to “More Delightful Goodies from Rose Fyleman”

  1. Maddwitch December 29, 2008 at 8:59 AM #

    These are all so beautiful & the pictures too. I know you must have worked hard on this, but it was worthwhile. I posted a couple more, one of which you have here. I may repost the others on my blog. She is a very talented lady. Thank you for finding & posting these. Blessings Maddy x)O(x

    • Faerie♥Kat December 29, 2008 at 1:11 PM #

      Oh, please do! The more people who get to appreciate Ms. Fyleman, the better, say I!

      Hugz to you, dear Sister,


  2. Jacqueline UK May 11, 2009 at 2:23 AM #

    I have loved Rose Fyleman’s poems for a long time. but am unable to find out much about her.

    I love your sight and have passed it on to several friends

    BIG THANKS!!!!!

    Jacqueline UK

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