Tuesday, September 11, 2018

‘Kindred to My Soul’

James LaFond's impressions of This is A Young World & The Ages Stride on Golden Feet by Robert E. Howard

Reading from pages 84-85 of A Word from the Outer Dark.

This is a Young World is enough to make the jaded wince, such a celebration of youthful exuberance in the accursed and envious shadow of old priests and rulers, with full knowledge of the awesome age of the cosmos, but without the arrogant hedonism of the 1960s youth cult which still hold wicked sway over American ideas of being young and full of life, Howard's verse is not even anthropomorphic, but tellingly pagan, as he imagines himself swaying with the saplings, likewise young in the old world.

The best two lines of the poem are:

8: I have shaken off musty creeds and dusky Despotisms

13: They [the planets] sit like crones and laugh fruitlessly at youth.
In Howard’s hands, this duly childlike celebration of young life, of a fresh cycle of strife, rattles like something old, like leaves shaking before a cold wind, with a keen sense that winter is due.

The Ages Stride on Golden Feet consists of one four-line verse and a rhyming couplet, forming a word picture of nature’s rhythm, from the cycle of the ages echoed in the ancient stars to the dawning day greeted by the creatures of the morning mists.

This reader is impressed with Howard’s use of unpublished verse, possibly to set the narrative mode and certainly to develop his ability to tell gritty tales in verse—such as the Solomon Kane verses concerning Francis Drake and Sir Richard Grenville, as well as that character’s ghostly homecoming. Most importantly, in terms of his major works, Howard’s skill in verse permitted him to set some of his best Conan tales, Pool of the Black One, Queen of the Black Coast and The Scarlet Citadel in the context of epic ballads, opening chapters with the type of heroic narrative that a bard in such ancient times would employ.

(c) 2018 James LaFond


  1. Hey Lynn & James,
    Just saw the main site was down and hoping it wasn't part of these latest shutdowns that have been happening. Everything alright?

    1. It seems to be up right now. Thank you so much for looking out!

  2. I just made a post and the site was up and running.
    The site is generally ghosted and not attacked directly. My webmaster explained that it's like someone changed the street signs to point away from our block on the internet. this has happened by accident and, I believe, also on purpose. Thanks for the heads up and the support.