Friday, January 30, 2009


“The shattered wall,
the broken tower
have a story to tell –
from the touchstones of ruins
and ancient texts
we make a pilgrimage.”

–David Day

What is it about castles? The word alone conjures up images and feelings that seize my imagination. Mysterious and immense, they’re full of fragments of history and myth. How lasting, how permanent these structures of stone arches, marble chambers, great halls, secret passageways and dungeons; this realm of kings and queens, maidens and knights, giants and gods, dwarves and faeries, heroes and bards.

The drama of old tales seems close at hand while these structures remain standing, as though the structures themselves strain to share all that went on and all who went before. They seem to hold out a beckoning promise of ancient wonder to me. Still so filled with the past, still so saturated with history and myth, I could almost be transported back to the age of fantasy, romance and myth. I’d step in to find myself in the midst of daily bustling life within those enclosed outer walls. What a lovely dream come true for a girl who never gave up dreaming of a long-past time, real or imagined, when castles and dreams were born of rock and took shape in my heart and imagination.

Illustrations by Alan Lee, concept artist for The Lord of the Rings movies.


Poetikat said...

I know there's so much fuss over "Harry Potter" and "Lord of the Rings", but give me "Camelot" any day. The Arthurian legends are what come to mind for me. Lovely post, Peggy.

I wrote a poem about the Blarney Stone and Blarney castle in Ireland. If you'd like to read it, let me know.


Peggy said...

We're so on the same page, Kat! Harry Potter doesn't interest me, and while "The Lord of the Rings" movies were very enjoyable, that's not what I think of when I'm pondering castles, either.

And yes, I'd love to read your Blarney stone and castle poem. Tell me how to find it!

Raph G. Neckmann said...

I read Lord of the Rings when very young, and it is so precious I daren't watch the films in case they spoil the inner vision I have!

I'm interested to see the paintings by Alan Lee. I loved his illustrations and remember seeing a book of them including Lord of the Rings images, around twenty years ago.

Have you read 'The Enchanted Castle' by E. Nesbit? (I think that is the title - it is the one where the statues came alive at night).

sizzie said...

As always, Peggy, I see you have a thoughtful post and matched just the right illustrations to your words. I have never read The Lord of the Rings. I know. That is wrong of me. I have read, and very much enjoyed, Harry Potter. But, I found I did not like to read it, but it was a perfect series to hear performed on audio CD. I am not sure why. I wonder if I should try that with The Lord of the Rings?

neetzy said...

I was amazed there were so many castles in Ireland. Some were restored, some were in ruins. They were all magnificent to me. I found the old crumbling ones even more magical so some reason. There were also many round stone towers, like the which housed Rapunzel. The doors were very high. I, like Raph, was Lord of the Rings obsessed. I liked the movies, but they were not nearly as magical as the books. I read them in 8th & 9th grade.

Joanne said...

Reading your post makes me think of castles as big, beautiful hardcover books, holding wonderful, mysterious stories just waiting to be explored in those grand walls!

Reya Mellicker said...

What a beautiful post! It's a prose poem, completely enchanting in every way. Yes to castles, YES!! Coolest castles I've seen (and stayed in) were in Rajasthan (Jaipur, Jodhpur and Udipur).

People are either Harry Potter people or they aren't. There seems to be nothing inbetween. Me? Harry Potter person. Why? Can't explain.

Have a wonderful weekend.

Derrick said...

Hi Peggy,

I think it is the scale of ancient ruins, whether castles or cathedrals, that often catch our imaginations. But they do hold wonder.

I haven't read Harry Potter (or Tolkein) but, when we ran a guest house, was surprised to see how many adults had HP by the bedside. Several were teachers and said they wanted to know what was captivating the children, then found they enjoyed them too!

I have enjoyed the HP films but only bits of the Rings Trilogy.

willow said...

I would love to visit the crumbling ruins of what is left of Sorbie Castle my ancestral home in Scotland. I will. Someday.

Barry said...

Linda and I were lucky enough to tour Scotland for a month back in 2002, We toured castles that remain private homes and castles that are little more than ruins.

All of them were magical.

Poetikat said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Poetikat said...

(Forgot the link!)

Peggy - Here's the link for the Blarney Stone poem. It's not a romantic view - it was inspired by a news item. It's a bit cheeky.


Bee said...

Peggy, PLEASE visit Moments of Perfect Clarity (link on my blog). She wrote a lovely post about a Danish castle right around the time you wrote this one.

Blogging synchronicity!

You have a gift for delivering a reader into the world you create with words . . .

Peggy said...

Kat, I adored your Blarney Stone poem. I've left a comment there for you. What fun! I especially liked reading it out loud; it sounded so much like an intelligent and witty limerick! :-)

Peggy said...

Bee, thanks so much for the heads-up on the Danish castle post. I popped over to take a look at it. How interesting to find people thinking of the same types of subjects at the same time. Fun read!

julochka said...

hi peggy--thanks for stopping by my kronborg post. i'll have to thank bee for sending you my way as well. and i'll definitely be back. :-)

castles are romantic and laden with stories. i never get tired of them.

It's Just Me said...

Popping in from julochka's blog. Love the idea of castles (who doesn't?) But, am especially happy I read your post. Thanks for the peek into your blog.

Peggy said...

Julochka, thanks so much for stopping by. :-)

It's just me, welcome! Come visit anytime.