Poetry Friday: The Day the Saucers Came by Neil Gaiman

It’s Friday again, and you know it! Myra, Iphigene, and I are proud to host today’s Poetry Friday! Myra will have a follow up post where you can post your links and share your lovely poems.

Two weeks ago, I featured an excerpt from Neil Gaiman’s short story called I Cthulhu. When I found the short story, I also stumbled upon his poem called The Day the Saucers Came. It then hit me: this poem is not only perfect for Poetry Friday (on Valentine’s Week!) but it also fits our bimonthly theme, Circus, Carnivale, and Paranormal Twists! How lovely indeed!

Poster courtesy of our treasured Iphigene

Also included in this post is a video blog featuring Neil Gaiman reading the poem himself! How cool is that! This video was featured in the 2011 Season of Wits by the Minnesota Public Radio. Wits is a radio stage show that features today’s story tellers, writers, musicians, and witty people sharing their talents.

I implore you to play the video and read with Neil Gaiman. We hope you enjoy today’s treat at Gathering Books. =)

The Day the Saucers Came
by Neil Gaiman

That Day, the saucers landed. Hundreds of them, golden,
Silent, coming down from the sky like great snowflakes,
And the people of Earth stood and
stared as they descended,
Waiting, dry-mouthed, to find out what waited inside for us
And none of us knowing if we would be here tomorrow
But you didn’t notice it because

That day, the day the saucers came, by some coincidence,
Was the day that the graves gave up their dead
And the zombies pushed up through soft earth
or erupted, shambling and dull-eyed, unstoppable,
Came towards us, the living, and we screamed and ran,
But you did not notice this because

On the saucer day, which was zombie day, it was
Ragnarok also, and the television screens showed us
A ship built of dead-men’s nails, a serpent, a wolf,
All bigger than the mind could hold,
and the cameraman could
Not get far enough away, and then the Gods came out
But you did not see them coming because

On the saucer-zombie-battling-gods
day the floodgates broke
And each of us was engulfed by genies and sprites
Offering us wishes and wonders and eternities
And charm and cleverness and true
brave hearts and pots of gold
While giants feefofummed across
the land and killer bees,
But you had no idea of any of this because

That day, the saucer day, the zombie day
The Ragnarok and fairies day,
the day the great winds came
And snows and the cities turned to crystal, the day
All plants died, plastics dissolved, the day the
Computers turned, the screens telling
us we would obey, the day
Angels, drunk and muddled, stumbled from the bars,
And all the bells of London were sounded, the day
Animals spoke to us in Assyrian, the Yeti day,
The fluttering capes and arrival of
the Time Machine day,
You didn’t notice any of this because
you were sitting in your room, not doing anything
not even reading, not really, just
looking at your telephone,
wondering if I was going to call.

12 Comments on Poetry Friday: The Day the Saucers Came by Neil Gaiman

  1. Wow!

    I love the punch line.

    • Hi Maria! Thanks for dropping by. I loved it too. When I first came across this poem, I thought “Ok, full of zombie and aliens and whatnot…” It didn’t seem like it was going anywhere… Until… :) I loved it ever since. Glad you enjoyed it too!

  2. I think I might miss the Zombie apocalypse, too if I was waiting for a phone call from Neil Gaiman!
    What a funny poem. Thanks for sharing it!

  3. That is too much fun. (And I love Katya’s insight!) And, “feefofummed” makes such a great verb….

  4. I love the way Gaiman introduced his poem – it made for an entirely new experience of it. Thanks for sharing!

    • Hi Tara! I agree. When I first read the poem – before I found the video – I was only thinking about the apocalypse, with all the description about zombies and the of the world. The first video I found was a fan-made video featuring comic book illustrations but I forgot the name of the guy who made the video and read the poem. I meant to include it but his interpretation of the poem was different. The meaning was lost. I was lucky enough to find Neil Gaiman himself reading it and giving a short introduction without ruining the poem.

  5. Thank you Fats. I am amused & it was easier than the earlier short story. I am reminded of some silly scene in a movie where all these things are happening in the background & the main person is totally oblivious, just walking along. I guess you could say this is a love poem, don’t you think? Totally in love, nothing else matters, only that ‘other’.

    • Hi Linda! I’m glad you enjoyed it. Indeed, this was easier than I Cthulhu. Still on the paranormal side but simpler and lighter than his short story. Funny you should mention this being a love poem.

      I was talking to Myra about A Valentine Week special for GatheringBooks while drafting this post. I wasn’t even thinking about this poem when we were brainstorming. When I told her I was going to feature this for Poetry Friday, she asked, “Is it romantic?” It made me think, not because I was worried that it wouldn’t be romantic and it would go against Valentine’s but because I couldn’t put zombie apocalypse and ‘romantic’ together. However, she asked me this before I even read the entire poem. So I read it again. When I finished, I was so giddy that I only ended up telling her, “Yeah, you can look at it that way.”

      The punch line at the end of the poem brought me back memories of young love, at a time when I would eagerly wait for a boy to call. Really glad you enjoyed it. :)

  6. Wow! That last line just took my breath away.

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