The Day the Saucers Came, Neil Gaiman

The Day the Saucers Came
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 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.

A couple of weeks ago, I was fortunate enough to hear Neil Gaiman read this poem aloud. I had read it myself, years ago, and I never really liked it. I felt the same way about it that I did most of his short stories and about his graphic novels – they were well-written, but not meant for the likes of me.

When I heard him read it though, a piece of me came alive. I was captivated by the rhythm of his lines, the imagery he so deftly invokes, and the absolutely stunning ending. A poem is nothing without its ending, and this one is just exceptional. I found a video of Gaiman reading it for you because, really, his voice is magical and it makes the piece that much more lovely. I recommend listening to it once without watching the video, and then once with, because the person who made it did a fun job putting the piece together.

)

For more about Neil Gaiman, go on over here.

13 thoughts on “The Day the Saucers Came, Neil Gaiman

  1. We are in our own world unless it is interrupted. We are indeed, spaced out, like the deer in the head lights we are stunned and do not see the tree from the forest.

      1. Absolutely. I have An Evening with Neil Gaiman and Amanda Palmer, and he reads several stories on there. It has become my plane ride soundtrack. It isn’t bad to fall asleep listening to that man read…at all.

  2. I love Neil Gaiman *so much*. I got to see him a month or so ago. He participated in a seminar at my alma mater; while he didn’t read this poem (one of my favorites), he did discuss American Gods, Ocean at the End of the Lane, and his friendship with Terry Pratchett (RIP). And he shared a few of his short stories with us. He really is just a positively wonderful man :)

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