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Instructions for Visiting the Tree Café

by Liminality

- The sign is fine, there’s no need to pick it up, where it is – sitting on the floor for a bask in the sun. It says ‘Oak’s Kitchen’, did you know that? In our tongue. The carved letters settled deep and old.

- Walk under the lichen curtain of the cave, and don’t miss it too. Being a tree café hasn’t stopped it from being made of shapely rock, the ridges intricate under the palm, the walls cool and dark.

- You should see the trail of dandelion tufts floating, glowing white with magic, resonant ringing forcefield. Follow it to the menu stand.

- If you look, you will find the hole in the roof that lets the light in. That’s where the shyness melts away, warmed by sunlight. It’s a cold yellow beam, but refreshing, lemon-flavoured, and you should try the cakes, they are very zesty.

- In this place, we consider ‘very’ a very good word to use.

- Sit down at one of the toadstools, carefully – they’re quite springy: quite lofty in attitude and sometimes their spots wink. But they don’t usually mind being sat on, so don’t worry too much about it.

- The one at the counter, we call him Papa. Dark green leaves bush together from his chest to his feet, which rustle when the wind pours through the cave opening.

- What you do when you get here, is you pick one of the bottles humming in the pigeon hole. They are crammed and cluttered, yes, there’s not much space to carve out of stone here, but we have made do. The roots need to grow, too.

- And as a gesture of courtesy, kiss the knots in the tree that holds the walls together. Did you see it? Pale brown, seeming young-skinned even in his old age, the slender limbs that weave through the cracks in the cavern, snaking up to the cusp of the outside, quietly bursting into leaf-springs and soft grasses.

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539 Reviews

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Reviews: 539

Fri Jun 03, 2022 2:00 am
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Plume wrote a review...

Hey there! Plume here, with a review!!

Ooh, a good old list poem!! And quite delightful too, I might add!! Right away, I was drawn in. I love the juxtaposition of the title with the actual content as well; I normally think of instructions as bland, straightforward things, but you've managed to create some that are a true work of art!! Well done!!

You really nailed the flow of this one. The variation in sentence length and the way you play with sentence structure make the poem feel like a tree branch swaying. I loved the contrast that's peppered through as well—you've got these terse, imperative sentences like "walk under the lichen curtain" and "follow it to the menu stand" combined with other more flowery fragments, and it gives the poem a very familiar voice, like the narrator is recounting their own memories and giving the reader insider info about this café, in a way. Throughout, there's this sense of nativeness on the part of the speaker that makes the poem feel extra cozy and comforting.

I'd be remiss if I didn't mention your stupendous imagery as well. That description of the sunbeam is so cheery and delightful, and so is the one about the toadstools. It really makes the poem feel right out of a fairy tale or some sort of cute fantasy RPG. Really nice work; every word feels purposeful and only helps to further the magical environment you created within this poem.


The sign is fine

Already, I love the little rhyme at the beginning. It helps to set the tone of this poem as whimsical and fun.

the ridges intricate under the palm,

Also loved this bit of soundplay here—'ridges' and 'intricate' complement each other nicely. One thing you were stupendously consistent with throughout is throwing in little bits of soundplay that I think also contributed to the flow of this poem and gave it that distinct poetic quality.

Pale brown, seeming young-skinned even in his old age, the slender limbs that weave through the cracks in the cavern, snaking up to the cusp of the outside, quietly bursting into leaf-springs and soft grasses.

While the imagery in this sentence is fantastic, I did notice that there isn't a true verb in it. I am a believer in tossing grammar conventions out when writing poetry, but I do think that the unconventionalness of it makes me crave something more after it. It doesn't feel finished. I feel like you either need a true verb in there (e. g. changing "that weave" to "weave") or putting a shorter, true sentence after this one, to make it feel final.

Overall: what a lovely poem!! It's so tranquil and magical, and your flow, imagery, and soundplay showcase this truly imaginative tree café. I hope to read more of your poetry soon! Until next time!!

Liminality says...

Thanks so much for your thoughtful review! I love how you phrased your impressions and I'm so happy all that came through. This poem was def inspired by fantasy RPGs, so it's super cool to see you bring that up. I was also trying to go for familiarity in quite a few of my NaPo poems, but especially this one as well. Thanks for the observation on that last line as well! You're right, I think not having a main verb to focus on makes it read a bit clunky and cluttered, which means it's not a great place to end on.

Thanks again, and good luck on the Great Tortoise Race!

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301 Reviews

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Reviews: 301

Fri May 27, 2022 4:47 pm
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vampricone6783 wrote a review...

The tree cafe seems like a magical place to be.Who wouldn’t want to go there? I would love to be in that environment.I think fairies dine there.It wouldn’t be a big surprise.Everything in there is alive and full of color.This poem expresses it vividly.I can see it from reading it.This was nice.I hope you have a cool day and night.

To be a master of metaphor is the greatest thing by far. It is the one thing that cannot be learnt from others, and it is also a sign of genius.
— Aristotle, Poetics