Sunday, December 18, 2011

Match A Toad With A Far-winged Hawk - Robert E. Howard

Match a toad with a far-winged hawk,
A scarlet rose with a thistle stalk;
A stagnant pond with the white sea-tide—
You match the friendship of Bob and Clyde.
Clyde was a plucker of gems divine—
Bob was half a poet, half devil-swine.
One of them mounted the gods' own peak,
Out of the world's vile muck and reek,
Up from the world-path's ruck and slime,
Climbed on a ladder of godlike rhyme.—
One of them made his bid for fame,
Scorched his wing at the Muses' flame,
Warped his soul like a brooding devil
Found at last, and kept to, his level.
A friendship strange—yet it lasted on
Till their lives had faded to dusk from dawn.
Friendship of a falcon for a mugger—
Gods' own poet and third-rate slugger.
Lived their lives, friend unto friend—
Each in his own way met his end.
One of them passed like a Median king—
One of them died in a boxing ring.
One of them passed on a distant shore
Where the breakers answered the sea-wind's roar.
High on the crags he stood at bay,
Laughed like a god o'er the din of the fray;
Crimson the cliffs and red his sword,
One man facing a blood-crazed horde;
Man after man fell to his blade,
Laughed as he faced them, unafraid.
They swarmed like demons; what did he care?
Beauty and glory and pride were there;
Crag and mountain, ocean and sky,
Glorying to see a strong man die.
Laughed on the crags like a white limbed god,
For he knew the ways that the godlings trod—
He had scaled all peaks of glory. Last
With a snatch of song on his lips he passed.
One heard the tumult of throngs outbreak
As he writhed on the matt like a wounded snake,
Striving to get his legs beneath—
Red oaths ebbed through his broken teeth—
Above him the ring-light's garishblaze,
Sordid faces leered through the haze,
Foreign voices venting foul spleen,
Scents of unwashed forms obscene—
Shouts that flickered the ring-light's shine
"Stand up and fight, you yellow swine!"
Then the darkness loomed like a mighty tide
And he gasped out a crimson curse and died.
Thus they lived their lives friend unto friend,
And each in his own way met his end.
Match a toad with a far-winged hawk,
A crimson rose with a thistle stalk;
A stagnant pond with the ocean's tide—
You match the friendship of Bob and Clyde.
Friend unto friend, they lived their days,
Friend unto friend they walked their ways.


3.5 out of 5

http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Match_a_toad_with_a_far-winged_hawk...

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