Posted by Barbara Barrett on 5th August 2013
1. a medieval polearm weapon, i.e., a close combat weapon in which the main fighting part of the weapon is placed on the end of a long shaft whose edge was on the outside curve; also, a light lance with a long sharp-pointed head; 2. archaic. sword, especially a broadsword;
[origin: ca. 1250; Middle English from Old French glaive, gla, from Latin gladius]
Long glaives of frozen light crawled up and down
Along the towers of the outer wall
And as I passed into the darkened town
I felt the Silence lay his hand on all.
“Man may not stand that which man may but flee!
Man’s soul and works may be by fiends defamed,
Yet the cathedral doors stand wide for me.”
Though even as I spoke I was aware
That some vast Thing drew in a sucking breath,
And as I treasure life I knew and swear
That Something wet its lips and mewed like death.
My foot was on the threshold, then I screamed.
I fled. Brute life, heavy-thorned is your crown.
Once I loved life to live, before I dreamed
Of a Hell-seized fane in a silent town.
[from “A Vision”; to read the complete poem, see The Collected Poetry of Robert E. Howard, p. 198 and Echoes From an Iron Harp, p. 95]