in hand we come
Christopher Robin and I
lay this book in your lap.
Say you're surprised?
Say you like it?
Say it's just what you wanted?
Because it's yours—
Because we love you.
The House at Pooh Corner:
gave me Christopher Robin, and then
You breathed new life in Pooh.
of each has left my pen
Goes homing back to you.
book is ready, and comes to greet
The mother it longs to see—
would be my present to you, my sweet,
If it weren't your gift to me.
Okay, so technically these are dedications, not epigraphs. How do
we know? Well, Milne wrote them, so it's not a quote taken from somewhere else,
like an epigraph usually is. And they're written to a specific person: his
wife. That's right, to add just one more sugary layer onto the sweetness that
is A. A. Milne's tribute to his son, the author writes poems to the love of his
life to dedicate both books. You're making us all look bad, A. A.
But these are more than just sweet. The story is that Milne's
wife, Daphne, was the one who suggested that Milne write a children's book
about their son's stuffed animals. By offering a nod to her role, Milne's
dedications further ground his narrative structure in his own personal reality.
When we connote a very real family with the dynamics between the narrator and
Christopher Robin (the listener), this adds to the intimacy of the overall
tone. These books were a labor of love.
We also see a nugget of Milne's aesthetic perspective here too.
Even though he's the one who writes these things, he still considers himself
the recipient of a gift, as if the stories just came to him. This reminds us
quite a bit of how Pooh creates his songs and poems, no? And Daphne, we, too,
thank you for your gift.