What I Found While Cleaning a Faeries’ Well
Perhaps it was because I cleared the vines
The ancient vines, with tools of iron, of steel
And traced the circles of the well’s lost lines
With my unhallowed hands, by touch and by feel
Or that I wore my boots, or forgot my prayers
To the White Lady said to haunt this place
Or whistled secular songs, careless airs
Until the dusk, when I came face-to-face…
I have lived to tell of this wildest of adventures
I found on the lichened stone – a set of dentures
Despite my disapproval of exposition:
Until we became Roman and respectable, my Celtic and English ancestors made offerings at sacred wells associated with pixies and fairies and a mysterious White Lady, or Sheela na Gig.
I regret that the old well in my yard, the surviving structure from an old farmstead, is probably not a sacred well, or at least no more than any other well. While I was cleaning away the English ivy (which in English folklore binds lovers), I found on the edge of a brick a denture plate from years ago.
When I have finished cleaning the well, covering it with a sturdy concrete disc for safety, and topping it with a wrought-iron arch, I will add a crucifix.
I hope the resident Sheela / White Lady won’t mind.