Building a Fairy House













Building a Fairy House

If I fashion a cottage with sticks and with leaves,
If I pin tulip petals under the eaves,
If I roll out a carpet of fresh emerald moss,
If I set out an armchair of fine milkweed floss,
If I lay a stone table with hickory shells,
If I finish the doorway with lavender bells,
Will you come? Will you stay?
Will you ask me to play?


This poem started with a hickory shell and a memory of building fairy houses with my daughter one summer when we were visiting friends in Vermont. We were told that if you build a fairy house, fairies will come live in it.

© Elizabeth Steinglass, 2014, all rights reserved

9 replies
  1. hmmmmm says:

    My kids have always been fairy house builders — even on city playgrounds where they incorporate bottle caps, broken barrettes and other human detritus.

    I came across a(nother) book recently that made me think of you: ON LOOKING: ELEVEN WALKS WITH EXPERT EYES (Alexandra Horowitz). The fact that it included a quote attributed to John Burroughs made me know I had to pass it along. “To find new things, take the path you took yesterday.”

    • lsteinglass says:

      I love that quote. It’s new to me. I know extremely little about John Burroughs. Isn’t that odd? I’ll have to look for that book.

  2. Bridget Magee says:

    Fabulous! My daughter went through a fairy phase, but she never believed they lived in the desert – smart girl. I love the line: “a carpet of fresh emerald moss” Wouldn’t that feel lovely on tiny fairy feet? Great images, Liz! = )

  3. Martha O'Quinn says:

    Each day I think, “Wow, it can’t get any better.” Yet it does. You amaze me and as a “wannabee” poet, you inspire me. The images produced with words compare with the best of cameras.

  4. Janet F. says:

    I can’t wait to share this with your fans in room 103. I love this. If u ever get to mid-coast Maine the Botanical Gardens have some and the kids come dressed as fairies on special days. Love it. Check my FB page for a photo for u…if it is still on my phone.

  5. Heidi says:

    I did this sort of thing quite a lot, but in the Harriet-and-Sport way, not for fairies! The repeated “If I” with all the “creationary” verbs makes this one special, and the rhymes are simple yet perfect. You’re in the zone, Liz.

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