Sunday, June 20, 2010

Sunday Morning Poetry


Instructions

From the back garden you will be able to see the

wild wood.

The deep well you walk past leads to Winter's

realm;

there is another land at the bottom of it.

If you turn around here,

you can walk back, safely;

you will lose no face. I will think no less of you.


Once through the garden you will be in the

wood.

The trees are old. Eyes peer from the under-

growth.

Beneath a twisted oak sits an old woman. She

may ask for something;

give it to her. She

will point the way to the castle.

Inside it are three princesses.

Do not trust the youngest. Walk on.

In the clearing beyond the castle the twelve

months sit about a fire,

warming their feet, exchanging tales.

They may do favors for you, if you are polite.

You may pick strawberries in December's frost.

Trust the wolves, but do not tell them where

you are going.

The river can be crossed by the ferry. The ferry-

man will take you.

(The answer to his question is this:

If he hands the oar to his passenger, he will be free to

leave the boat.

Only tell him this from a safe distance.)


If an eagle gives you a feather, keep it safe.

Remember: that giants sleep too soundly; that

witches are often betrayed by their appetites;

dragons have one soft spot, somewhere, always;

hearts can be well-hidden,

and you betray them with your tongue.


Do not be jealous of your sister.

Know that diamonds and roses

are as uncomfortable when they tumble from

one's lips as toads and frogs:

colder, too, and sharper, and they cut.


Remember your name.

Do not lose hope — what you seek will be found.

Trust ghosts. Trust those that you have helped

to help you in their turn.

Trust dreams.

Trust your heart, and trust your story.

When you come back, return the way you came.

Favors will be returned, debts will be repaid.

Do not forget your manners.

Do not look back.

Ride the wise eagle (you shall not fall).

Ride the silver fish (you will not drown).

Ride the grey wolf (hold tightly to his fur).


There is a worm at the heart of the tower; that is

why it will not stand.


When you reach the little house, the place your

journey started,

you will recognize it, although it will seem

much smaller than you remember.

Walk up the path, and through the garden gate

you never saw before but once.

And then go home. Or make a home.

And rest.

~ Neil Gaiman


I just love the painting I featured in this post by Justin Owens. It is used with his permission. Justin's sketch blog is just wonderful, too. The poem is by one of my favorite authors, Neil Gaiman. Have you read his work?

15 comments:

Yiota said...

So much growing up and maturing takes place here; love it.
The artwork fits perfectly, too.
Have a great Sunday!

Lubna said...

No, am absolutely new to his work. Thank you for sharing it and for introducing Neil Gaiman to me. Have a beautiful Sunday, mine is ending - the sun is just setting.

lakeviewer said...

What a beautiful poem, advice for a young person on his life's journey. Thanks for introducing this writer to us.

Char said...

beautiful work - i've never read any of his before. thank you.

Erin Wallace said...

What a wonderful poem! Very otherworldly - took me to a different, magical place!

xo Erin

Oliag said...

My eldest daughter is a libraian and she is alway recommending Neil Gaiman to me...Thanks for introducing his poetry to me:)

Suvarna said...

these words go so perfectly with this image, hope you are having a lovely father's day.
xo

Tracy said...

Magical words... I am making home, I am a homemaker and I love that. I learned from the best homemaker too--my Mom. :o) Happy Summer Days, Relyn ((HUGS))

SE'LAH... said...

Thanks for sharing this beautiful moment with me. Loving it.

Marilyn said...

I have not read Neil Gaiman, but the fantasy you create here with his words and Justin Owens picture are wonderful. I love fantasies like this. Thanks!

Georgianna said...

Oh, my, what a pure delight these words are with this image! Beautifully paired!! I am quite familiar with Neil Gaiman – he is a weaver of tales extraordinaire! xo – g

Amy said...

Love Neil Gaiman ... and I'm feeling some love for the illustrations of Justin Owens--"A Nervous Lizard" ... that's been me the last few days! :)

susanna said...

Love love love this piece by Neil Gaiman. LOVE IT! In fact, I may have to print it out and tape it to the wall in my art room. Thanks, Relyn.

Dawn said...

That was a wonderful poem! I'm presuming you have read The Graveyard Book. I've also read Stardust, Wolves in the Wall, Neverwhere and Anansi Boys. And Coraline is perhaps one of the scariest books I've read because it's so like some of my nightmares! I haven't seen the movie but I have the graphic novel version of Coraline that I love--captures the novel perfectly. Now to the poem--I just finished a Young Adult book called "Toads and Diamonds" by Heather Tomlinson that I loved! You should read it!

Jaime said...

Oh, this makes me want to take a journey like that. Or at the very least, read more...I wish there was a story attached to this poem. It left my imagination dangling.
Wonderful artwork too!

Oldies, but Goodies