Saturday, September 1, 2018

‘Purple Gods of Morn’

James LaFond's Impressions of Earth-Born by Robert E. Howard, reading from pages 82-83 of A Word from the Outer Dark

Earth-Born is a Protean poem consisting of seven verses of four lines each. The spirit is very animistic and would be well understood by a shaman of some remote tribe. The spirit of Earth-Born reminds this reader of the song of Apollo’s sisters, sisters of the sun who condense into the amber weeping from lonely trees, but with an upbeat, masculine tone, that strikes a note of desire to venture across the world. This reader’s best measure of the inspiration was that the author used the East Texas landscape and the animistic bent of its displaced inhabitants to refashion an old Gaelic verse.

Verse four is quoted below:

And up along the mountain,
And down along the lea,
I heard my brothers singing,
The river and the tree.
Earth-Born reads like the reflections of the first man, if he were not born in a garden, and begins to feel, by the seventh verse, like the rhyme of a race. Despite the idyllic tones, the thinker is not reclining in hard-earned or well-deserved bliss but is rather accepting that he has been born into a turbulent world which he is fated to experience more intimately than any muse of Antiquity would expect of her consort.

(c) 2018 James LaFond

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