I had thought this sonnet lost! But I found it yesterday, while sorting through some old boxes of games and memorabilia, and I don’t think I’ve shared it publicly before.
I wrote it for Gary Gygax after having worked with him on the Dangerous Journeys role-playing game. Like countless hobby gamers, I was introduced to role-playing through Advanced Dungeons & Dragons, in my case the first edition.
While many people were involved in publishing AD&D, I think it’s safe to credit Gary as not just the author, but also the man who gave it flight. This was my way of saying thanks.
While just a child, I learned a magic spell
that let me gaze out through another’s eyes,
and in that manner walked beneath the skies
of worlds where heroes, maids, and monsters dwell.
I shared poor Crusoe’s fearful joy to tell
a print in sand. I marvelled at the size
of Gulliver in far-off ports. The cries
of Barsoom’s lord, as back to earth he fell,
I felt, and with him mourned the story’s end.
And then, as Samwise sailed into the West,
left me behind, I met a marvelous mage
whose grimoire taught a wondrous spell, to send
my mind in guises of its own to quest
in endless worlds—and never a last page.