Wednesday, December 07, 2011

The Song of a Mad Minstrel - Robert E. Howard

I am the thorn in the foot,
I am the blur in the sight;
I am the worm in the root,
I am the thief in the night.
I am the rat in the wall,
the leper that leers at the gate;
I am the ghost in the hall,
herald or horror and hate.

I am the rust on the corn,
I am the smut on the wheat,
Laughing man's labor to scorn,
weaving a web for his feet.
I am canker and mildew and blight,
danger and death and decay;
The rot of the rain by night
the blast of the sun by day.

I warp and whither with drought,
I work in the swamp's foul yeast;
I bring the black plague from the south
and the leprosy in from the east.
I rend from the hemlock boughs
wine steeped in the petals of dooms;
Where the fat black serpents drowse
I gather the Upas blooms.

I have plumbed the northern ice
for a spell like frozen lead;
In lost gray fields of rice,
I have learned from Mongol dead.
Where a bleak black mountain stands
I have looted grisly caves;
I have digged in the desert sands
to plunder terrible graves.

Never the sun goes forth,
never the moon glows red,
But out of the south or the north,
I come with the slavering dead.
I come with hideous spells,
black chants and ghastly tunes;
I have looted the hidden hells
and plundered the lost black moons.

There was never a king or priest
to cheer me by word or look,
There was never a man or beast
in the blood-black ways I took.
There were crimson gulfs unplumbed,
there were black wings over a sea;
There were pits where mad things drummed,
and foaming blasphemy.

There were vast ungodly tombs
where slimy monsters dreamed;
There were clouds like blood-drenched plumes
where unborn demons screamed.
There were ages dead to Time,
and lands lost out of Space;
There were adders in the slime,
and a dim unholy Face.

Oh, the heart in my breast turned stone,
and the brain froze in my skull―
But I won through, I alone,
and poured my chalice full
Of horrors and dooms and spells,
black buds and bitter roots―
From the hells beneath the hells,
I bring you my deathly fruits.

3.5 out of 5