I had an idea to write a poem about a fairy in a jar so I went in search of pictures of fairies in jam-jars thinking there weren’t likely to be any. I mean, whoever heard of a fairy in a jar? How wrong I was. It seems there is quite a fashion for the construction / documentation (depending on how you choose to look at it) of dead and dying fairies.
Some of the pictures were beautiful but macabre. Some were amateurish, some were twee, others were hideous and clever beyond belief. A famous one, known as The Derbyshire Mummified Fairy, is a hoax by master prop-maker Dan Baines. I was going to show it here but decided I couldn’t. In a way it’s too good. When I see such things I find it hard to believe there are no such things as fairies. I loathe traps. Hate to see things in bottles.
This is my poem. I was going to call it The Killing Jar but I thought that sounded a bit too Sylvia Plath-esque so I’ve stuck with A Fairy In A Jar. Echoes of school science lessons. Echoes of all sorts of things, really:
We place the fairy in the killing jar
like so. Yes, do gather round –
you can watch
as she throws herself against
the high-curved glass.
Note how the rainbow-coloured dust
storms from her wings, see how it floats
to form this brown dust at the base.
Observe how she gasps for air;
she’s longing for
what we have sealed her from.
You can see her now
embarked on her final flight,
that wild gavotte.
Fairies don’t live for ever –
you thought they did?
Sooner or later
and of their own accord
they enter a killing jar.
It is their choice to die