Monday, August 20, 2007

Happy Birthday, HPL!

'That is not dead which can eternal lie'

Today being Lovecraft's birthday, I shall celebrate by spending an hour or so in quiet contemplation (accompanied, perhaps, by a small glass of fine vinatge port!) while listening to the excellent audio version of Lovecraft's sonnet cycle The Fungi from Yuggoth (produced by Fedogan & Bremer in 1987). Having nothing profound to say in honour of the occasion, I'll let the Old Gent speak for himself and leave you with two excerpts from the aforementioned cycle which epitomise the man and his vision. Enjoy.

XXX. Background
I never can be tied to raw, new things,
For I first saw the light in an old town,
Where from my window huddled roofs sloped down
To a quaint harbour rich with visionings.
Streets with carved doorways where the sunset beams
Flooded old fanlights and small window-panes,
And Georgian steeples topped with gilded vanes -
These were the sights that shaped my childhood dreams.

Such treasures, left from times of cautious leaven,
Cannot but loose the hold of flimsier wraiths
That flit with shifting ways and muddled faiths
Across the changeless walls of earth and heaven.
They cut the moment's thongs and leave me free
To stand alone before eternity.

XXXVI. Continuity
There is in certain ancient things a trace
Of some dim essence - more than form or weight;
A tenuous aether, indeterminate,
Yet linked with all the laws of time and space.
A faint, veiled sign of continuities
That outward eyes can never quite descry;
Of locked dimensions harbouring years gone by,
And out of reach except for hidden keys.

It moves me most when slanting sunbeams glow
On old farm buildings set against a hill,
And paint with life the shapes which linger still
From centuries less a dream than this we know.
In that strange light I feel I am not far
From the fixt mass whose sides the ages are.

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