Writing and Ruminating

Thoughts on writing, reading, and poetry. With the occasional diversion, bien sûr.

Friday, August 14, 2009

"Instructions" by Neil Gaiman - a Poetry Friday post

Yesterday, I linked to one of Neil Gaiman's blog posts, entitled "Underneath the Bats and the Stars", which is a gorgeous, poetic piece of writing. And having Mr. Gaiman on my mind, I got to thinking about his marvelous poem, "Instructions", found in Fragile Things: Short Fictions and Wonders.

It is a set of instructions of what to do if you find yourself inside a fairy tale, and it begins like this:

Instructions
by Neil Gaiman

Touch the wooden gate in the wall you never

saw before.

Say "please" before you open the latch,

go through,

walk down the path.

A red metal imp hangs from the green-painted

front door,

as a knocker,

do not touch it; it will bite your fingers.

Walk through the house. Take nothing. Eat

nothing.

However, if any creature tells you that it hungers,

feed it.

If it tells you that it is dirty,

clean it.

If it cries to you that it hurts,

if you can,

ease its pain.


Here's video of Gaiman reading the full poem. He is, as I am fond of pointing out, an excellent reader as well as a terrific writer - and that is not always the case, as those of us who have attended a number of author readings all know, whether we usually say so or not:







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