If I were young as once I was,

and dreams and death more distant then,

I wouldn’t split my soul in two,

and keep half in the world of men,

So half of me would stay at home,

and strive for Faërie in vain,

While all the while my soul would stroll

up narrow path, down crooked lane,

And there would meet a fairy lass

and smile and bow with kisses three,

She’d pluck wild eagles from the air

and nail me to a lightning tree

And if my heart would run from her

or flee from her, be gone from her,

She’d wrap it in a nest of stars

and then she’d take it on with her

Until one day she’d tire of it,

all bored with it and done with it.

She’d leave it by a burning brook,

and off brown boys would run with it.

They’d take it and have fun with it

and stretch it long and cruel and thin,

They’d slice it into four and then

they’d string with it a violin.

And every day and every night

they’d play upon my heart a song

So plaintive and so wild and strange

that all who heard it danced along

And sang and whirled and sank and trod

and skipped and slipped and reeled and rolled

Until, with eyes as bright as coals,

they’d crumble into wheels of gold  . . . .

But I am young no longer now,

for sixty years my heart’s been gone

To play its dreadful music there,

beyond the valley of the sun.

I watch with envious eyes and mind,

the single–souled, who dare not feel

The wind that blows beyond the moon,

who do not hear the Fairy Reel.

If you don’t hear the Fairy Reel,

they will not pause to steal your breath.

When I was young I was a fool.

So wrap me up in dreams and death.

– Neil Gaiman

Source: Endicott Studios

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