REHupa

The Robert E. Howard United Press Association.


REHupa is an amateur press association dedicated to the study of author Robert E. Howard. The purpose of this site is to provide a forum for members to present their work to the public, as well as to serve as a source of reliable information about the life and writings of REH.

REH Word(s) of the Week: Damascus steel

Posted by Barbara Barrett on August 18th, 2014

damascus steel

noun

1. Damascus steel was made from wootz steel, a steel developed in India around 300 BC. These swords are characterized by distinctive patterns of banding and mottling reminiscent of flowing water. Such blades were reputed to be tough, resistant to shattering and capable of being honed to a sharp, resilient edge. The original method of producing Damascus steel is not known. Because of differences in raw materials and manufacturing techniques, modern attempts to duplicate the metal have not been entirely successful. Despite this, several individuals in modern times have claimed that they have rediscovered the methods in which the original Damascus steel was produced.

[origin: was a term used by several Western cultures from the Medieval period onward to describe a type of steel used in Middle Eastern swordmaking from about 1100 to 1700 AD.]

HOWARD’S USAGE:

“Boots of Cordovan leather, chests of ash,
Damascus steel, rare silks and silver plate;
Rough-carven gems to match the starlight’s flash,
And gold moidores cresting a piece-of-eight!
Tuns of brown ale and barrels of black rum,
And many a pipe of sharp Canary wine;
Toledo blades that shimmer, gleam and hum,
And bales of spice and idols of odd design!

“Ah, such dreams grip and cut me like a knife!
Let others rest in sweet slumbering death—
I cannot sleep; I need the sting of life,
The pounding of my veins, the fire, the strife,
The slashing spray, the sea-wind’s blasting breath;
The joy, the pain, the peril, sun and snow,
The tavern, and the ale at Plymouth Hoe!

“I cannot rest in Nombre Dios Bay.
Up through the seething fathoms I arise.
When night reefs sails to drink the dying day
And stars are longboat lanterns in the skies,
Then sea to sea I live it all again—
My youth and manhood. . . Devon and the Main!”

I met the ghost of Drake one Devon night;
He sang of sail and sword and reaving stench—
And in his eyes there burned the sea-thrown light
Of life-loving life not even Death can quench.

[from “Drake Sings of Yesterday”; to read the complete poem see The Collected Poetry of Robert E. Howard, p. 466 and Robert E. Howard Selected Poems, p. 412]

 

Posted in REH Poetry, Word of the Week |

REH Word of the Week: eventide

Posted by Barbara Barrett on August 11th, 2014

eventide
noun

1. archaic, poetic. the end of the day; evening

[origin: before 1250; Middle English from Old English æfintid; æfin (evening) tid (time)]

HOWARD’S USAGE:

I think when I am old a furtive shape
Will sit beside me at my fireless hearth,
Dabbled with blood from stumps of severed wrists,
And flecked with blackened bits of mouldy earth.

My blood ran fire when the deed was done;
Now it runs colder than the moon that shone
On ravished fields where dead men lay in heaps
Who could not hear a daughter’s piteous moan.

(Dim through the bloody dawn a shuddering wind
The throbbing of the distant cannon brought;
When I reeled like a drunkard from the hut
That hid the horror my red hands had wrought.)

[from “One Who Comes at Eventide”; to read the complete poem see The Collected Poetry of Robert E. Howard, p. 220; Robert E. Howard Selected Poems, p. 316 and Always Comes Evening, p. 87.]

 

Posted in REH Poetry, Word of the Week |

REH Word of the Week: sere

Posted by Barbara Barrett on August 4th, 2014

August 3 is my five year anniversary for doing Word of the Week. It began with the word “leal” on August 3, 2009. (http://leogrin.com/CimmerianBlog/category/robert-e-howard/word-of-the-week/page/5/ about half way down the page.)

Going into its sixth year, the current Word of the Week is “sere.” Some of the words that have been featured were used by REH in more than one poem. I plan to focus a second time of some of those words and see how REH used them in a different poem. Additionally, for the first several years there was no forum for adding any more information or comments about any of the verses so that information will be new also.

Autumn

adjective

1. dried or withered

[origin: before 12th century; Middle English, from Old English sear dry; akin to Old High German soren to wither, Greek hauos dry, Lithuanian sausas]

HOWARD’S USAGE:

Now is the lyre of Homer flecked with rust,
And yellow leaves are blown across the world,
And naked trees that shake at every gust
Stand gaunt against the clouds autumnal-curled.

Now from the hollow moaning of the sea
The dreary birds against the sunset fly,
And drifting down the sad wind’s ghostly dree
A breath of music echoes with a sigh.

The barren branch shakes down the withered fruit,
The seas faint footprints on the strand erase;
The sere leaves fall on a forgotten lute,
And autumn’s arms enfold a dying race.

[from “Autumn”; to read the complete poem, see The Collected Poetry of Robert E. Howard, p. 315; Robert E. Howard Selected Poems, p. 115 and Always Comes Evening, p. 43]

Posted in REH Poetry, Word of the Week |

REH Word of the Week: stave

Posted by Barbara Barrett on July 28th, 2014

haunted castle

noun

1. a long, wooden stick

[origin: about the 13th century; Middle English, from staves, plural of stafstaff]

HOWARD’S USAGE:

Against the east a sombre spire loomed o’er a dusky, brooding wood;
Against the west the sunset’s fire lay like a fading smear of blood.
The stranger pushed through tangled boughs; the forest towered stark and grim,
Fit haunting place for fiends’ carouse, but silent in the dusk and dim.

Anon the stranger paused to hark; no wind among the branches beat
But bats came wheeling in the dark and serpents hissed beneath his feet.
Bleak stars blinked out, of leprous hue; the forest stretched its clutching arms;
A hag-lean moon swam up and threw gnarled shadows into monstrous forms.

He scaled the steep and stood before the donjon. With his steel-tipped stave
He smote the huge, bronze studded door. (And yet his blows no echoes gave.)
The sullen door swung wide apace and framed in unnamed radiance dim
A grisly, horned, inhuman face with yellow eyes gazed out at him.
,,,,
Then towers and shadows faded out into a world of leaping flame.
Where to and fro and all about dim phantom figures went and came.
Arms tossed above the molten tide, the sparks in crimson shadows fell.
Red mountains smoldered. At his side a vague voice murmured, “This is Hell.”

[from “Destination”; to read the complete poem see The Collected Poetry of Robert E. Howard, p. 181; Singers in the Shadows, p. 52 and Robert E. Howard Selected Poems, p. 302]

 

 

 

Posted in REH Poetry, Word of the Week |

REH Word of the Week: swart

Posted by Barbara Barrett on July 21st, 2014

rebel

adjective

1. archaic: producing a swarthy or dark colored complexion; baneful; malignant

[origin: before
12th century; Middle English, from Old English sweart; akin to Old High German swarz black, Latin sordes dirt

HOWARD’S USAGE:

I lived upon the earth of yore,
An outlaw swart and fell,
And ankle-deep, at last, in gore
I waded into Hell.

And where the gleaming charcoal sheened
I dared the Devil’s ire,
For man is stronger than the fiend
And fiercer than the fire.

I swaggered through the Flaming Land
’Mid shadows red and black
And gripped him by his taloned hand
And smote him on the back.

“Damnation’s fire!” I roared, “I trow
“I heard the goblets clink!
“Have ye not courtesy enow
“To bid an old friend drink?

[from “Rebel”; to read the complete poem see The Collected Poetry of Robert E. Howard, p. 149; Robert E. Howard Selected Poems, p. 252 and Singers in the Shadows, p. 24]

 

 

 

Posted in REH Poetry, Word of the Week |

REH Word of the Week: Buri

Posted by Barbara Barrett on July 14th, 2014

Buri

(Buri is licked out of a salty ice-block by the cow Audumbla in this illustration from an 18th-century Icelandic manuscript)

noun

1. Scandinavian mythology: the first of the gods, revealed when the cow Auduml licked away the salty ice that covered him.

[origin: Old Norse, probably derivative of bera to bear]

HOWARD’S USAGE

Grim land of death, what monstrous visions lurk
Amid the icy fastness of your hills?
Your crags are hoary and they never melt;
Their blades of ice are deep in Midgard’s heart.

They know uncanny dawns before that time
When in the greyness of a sunless void,
Audhumla burst the sullen frost and saw
The strange-eyed Buri looming into life.

Oh, sombre land that I know ye are!
The seat of Midgard’s mysteries are you,
For you are Ymir’s cold, inhuman heart
Which feeds all oceans with his sluggish blood.

[from “Niflheim”; to read the complete poem see The Collected Poetry of Robert E. Howard, p. 66 and Always Comes Evening, p. 96]

 

Posted in REH Poetry, Word of the Week |

REH Word of the Week: a-tune

Posted by Barbara Barrett on July 7th, 2014

shattered shards

Intransitive verb

1. (var. attune); to make aware of or responsive to

[origin: 1596; L. ad, to, and Tune]

HOWARD’S USAGE:

The crystal gong of the silence
Shivers in shattered shards;
And the marble hall re-echoes
To the tread of the crested guards.

Fingers pluck at the hangings,
White in the purple gloam;
Midnight lies with the sleepers
In the pulsing heart of Rome.

Rosy lips smile in slumber
Arms nestle bodies white—
Rome in her silks and marbles
Sleeps through the soft-lipped night.

Beacons burn in the towers,
Eyes straining hard beside,
Ears a-tune to the murmur,
The sigh of each changing tide.

Was that the shrill of a night bird
Where the waves are grey as steel,
Or the grind of a muffled oar-lock,
The wash of a prowling keel?

Driftwood or sword-fanged sea-wolves,
Not yours is rest or ease;
Stand to your watches, legion,
That Rome may sleep in peace.

[from “A Song of the Legions”; to read the complete poem see The Collected Poetry of Robert E. Howard, p. 61; Robert E. Howard Selected Poems, p. 207; and Echoes of an Iron Harp, p. 78]

 

Posted in REH Poetry, Word of the Week |

REH Word of the Week: soul-chord

Posted by Barbara Barrett on June 30th, 2014

portara3

(Portara–Apollo’s Temple–Naxos, Greece)

noun

1.a combination of two words—soul: a strong positive feeling (as of intense sensitivity and emotional fervor) and chord: three or more musical tones sounded simultaneously

[origin: 1608; alteration of Middle English cord, short for accord]

HOWARD’S USAGE:

Fling wide the portals, rose-lipped dawn has come
To kiss our drowsy visions into life;
Let me arise, a-lust for love and strife
To follow far some distant, pulsing drum.
Upon my vibrant soul-chords passions strum;
With hot, red, leaping blood my veins are rife.
Gods, let me take the universe to wife!
Ere Death, the cold accountant, close my sum.

Then as I spake, methought fierce laughter came
Across the dying hills where sunrise shot;
“Fool, fool, you came unbidden to this game,
“And Death that takes you hence shall ask you not.
“From life, this and only this, may you claim;
“Living, to die, and dying, be forgot.”

from “A Sonnet of Good Cheer”; this is the complete poem as it appears in The Collected Poetry of Robert E. Howard, p. 418; Echoes From an Iron Harp, p.83 and Robert E. Howard Selected Poems, p. 128.

Posted in REH Poetry, Word of the Week |

REH Word of the Week: forsooth

Posted by Barbara Barrett on June 23rd, 2014

Billy the Kid

adverb

1. archaic; in truth; an archaic word originally meaning `in truth’ but now usually used to express disbelief

[origin: before 12th century; Middle English for soth, from Old English forsoth, from for+soth sooth]

HOWARD’S USAGE:

When I was a youth a deep craving for truth
Was the least of my juvenile failings;
“Student’s Reading Control” failed to touch my young soul,
I, myself, chose the seas of my sailings.
With crook and with sleuth, I reveled forsooth
And I read Tom Swift over and over,
Read Billy the Kid till I wore out the lid
And scanned the bold heroes of Rover.

And now I am wise with no over-strong eyes
And I smirk to society’s diction,
But I fling a sly eye to moments gone by
When I reveled in red-blooded fiction.

[from “When I Was a Youth”; this is the complete poem as it appears in The Collected Poetry of Robert E. Howard, p. 372 and A Rhyme of Salem Town, p. 15]

 

Posted in REH Poetry, Word of the Week |

Howard Days was Howard-tastic!

Posted by indy on June 18th, 2014

S

 

Robert E. Howard Days 2014 was so great I barely know where to begin in telling you about it! As I’ve finally recovered from two days driving home and another of unpacking loot, let’s give it a try. More than one post will be needed, especially going through hundreds of photos!

Both Friday and Saturday featured some of the best weather ever seen for Howard Days. The upper 80′s in mid-June in west Texas is about as good as it gets. Blue skies and lots of wind really kept us comfortable.

Project Pride, Cross Plains’ wonderful civic organization, had everything ready for Howard fans. Fine hospitality is a watchword from these great folks and they welcomed Howard Fans from all over the world with open arms. This year featured guests from all over the U.S. plus fans from France, Germany, Scotland and Japan. REH is truly world-wide! Attendance seemed to be up a little from previous years. (I’ll let you know some figures when I get them.)

The Robert E. Howard Museum was certainly all slicked up to receive guests! Thanks to the generosity of Howard fans earlier this year, some window and plumbing issues were repaired and a coat of gleaming white paint had been applied. The Museum looked fantastic!

House tours were conducted, the Gift Shop was soon depleted (almost), the Bus was filled and the Postal Cancellation was as popular as ever! The panels went off without a hitch and were extremely well attended (my un-official average was 45 per!) Plus, the panelists were all top-notch and their presentations were wonderfully interesting. The Friday night Banquet was again filled to capacity and the Silent Auction raised over $1,500 for Project Pride’s maintenance of the REH Museum!

Patrice Louinet was a wonderful and witty Guest of Honor and amused the Banquet crowd with anecdotes of his Howard career and stories of a Frenchman in America. Tom Gianni as our Special Guest was honored to receive the Rankin Award for artistic achievement and gave a nice presentation of his working methods. The rest of the Featured Attendees were on their best behavior and hardly any gun or knife fights broke out at this Howard Days! (Y’all know I’m joking about that, right?)

The Saturday night Barbeque out the Caddo Peak Ranch was as delicious as ever, but also bittersweet, seeing as how it signals the end to Howard Days.

But the fellowship and friendship of the entire weekend was what shone like the sun in the Texas sky. New friends were made, old friendships continued and everyone came away with that warm feeling you get from seeing everyone at a family reunion. A year will go by quickly and we’ll be in Cross Plains again. For now however, the glowing memories of Howard Days 2014 will carry us through. Happy trails, y’all!

Posted in REH Days |