REHupa

The Robert E. Howard United Press Association.

Archive for the 'Word of the Week' Category

REH Word of the Week: sendings

Posted by Barbara Barrett on 25th November 2013

tower1

(fantasy tower concept by Zack Fowler)

noun

1. an unpleasant or evil thing or creature supposedly sent by someone with paranormal or magical powers to warn, punish, or take revenge on a person.

[origin: mid-19th century; from Old Norse]

HOWARD’S USAGE:

High in his dim, ghost-haunted tower
Zukala sits alone;
Like a spider spinning his webs of power
Upon his moon-pale throne.

All through the long, star-spectral night
The tower knows no tread
Save for, sometimes, the eery, light
Swift footfalls of the dead.

He does not sleep and his eyes are deep
As the Seas of Falgarai;
And he moves his sceptre but to sweep
The dim stars out of the sky.

And when the wind is out of the east
And the silver moon’s agleam
That pales the stars and dims the least,
Zukala sits a-dream.

But when the wind is out of the north
And the grey light lifts for morn,
Zukala harries his sendings forth
To know if a child be born.

And the babe that is born in that ghostly hour
In the time of the paling light
Is cursed with the gift of Zukala’s power—
The gift of second sight.

For an unseen web from the ghostly shores
Upon his soul is thrown
And though his brothers may number scores
That babe must walk alone.

[from “Zukala’s Hour”; to read the complete poem, see The Collected Poetry of Robert E. Howard, p. 129; Singers in the Shadows, p. 15; Robert E. Howard Selected Poems, p. 450]

Posted in REH Poetry, Word of the Week |

REH Word of the Week: ebon

Posted by Barbara Barrett on 18th November 2013

Black river

adjective

1. dark brown or black; from ebony: a hard heavy blackish wood yielded by various tropical chiefly southeast Asian trees

[origin: 15th century; Middle English eban, ebony wood, from Old French, from Latin hebenus, ebenus, ebony tree, from Greek ebenos]

HOWARD’S USAGE:

The Black Door gapes and the Black Wall rises;
Twilight gasps in the grip of Night.
Paper and dust are the gems man prizes—
Torches toss in my waning sight.

Drums of glory are lost in the ages,
Bare feet fail on a broken trail—
Let my name fade from the printed pages;
Dreams and visions are growing pale.

Twilight gathers and none can save me.
Well and well, for I would not stay.
Let me speak through the stone you gave me:
He never could say what he wished to say.
…..
What of the world that I leave for ever?
Phantom forms in a fading sight—
Carry me out on the ebon river
Into the Night.

[from “Lines Written in the Realization That I Must Die”; to read the complete poem, see The Collected Poetry of Robert E. Howard, p. 401; Always Comes Evening, p. 49 and Robert E. Howard Selected Poems, p. 221]

Posted in REH Poetry, Word of the Week |

REH Word of the Week: spur

Posted by Barbara Barrett on 11th November 2013

No man's land2

(A French and German soldier clash in hand-to-hand combat in No Man’s Land on the Western Front, after a work by Georges Scott, from ‘L’Illustration’, published in 1916 by French School

noun

1. something that prompts or encourages someone; an incentive

[origin: before 12th century; Middle English spure, from Old English spura; akin to Old English spurnan to kick]

HOWARD’S USAGE:

I pinned him hard in a vacant trench,
he corporal who had my hate.
The rats ran through the reeking stench,
And he blanched before his fate.

The skies were dim with the birth of dawn,
And the wind was thin and bitter.
The stars were bleak as a woman’s lies,
And he shrank from the horror of the skies
And the red death in my bitter eyes,
And my bayonet’s cold glitter.

Long be the trail of vengeance,
But the spurs of hate thrust on!
“This for the curse at Ypres,
This for the blow at Toulon!”

The blood burst from his sagging lips.
The stars dimmed and were gone;
And over the wastes of No Man’s Land,
The wind blew up the dawn.

[from “Hate’s Dawn”; to read the complete poem, see The Collected Poetry of Robert E. Howard, p. 105; Robert E. Howard Selected Poems, p. 42]

Posted in REH Poetry, Word of the Week |

REH Word of the Week: blent

Posted by Barbara Barrett on 4th November 2013

beheading1

Beheading Facsimile of a Miniature on Wood in the
Cosmographie Universelle” of Munster in folio Basle 1552

past or past participle of blend

1. a mixture of different substances or qualities

[origin: 14th century; Middle English, probably from Old Norse blend-, present stem of blanda to mix; akin to Old English blandan to mix, Lithuanian blandus impure, cloudy]

HOWARD’S USAGE:

Sir Thomas Doughty, executed at St. Julian’s Bay, 1578

They carried him out on the barren sand where the rebel captains died;
Where the grim grey rotting gibbets stand as Magellan reared them on the strand,
And the gulls that haunt the lonesome land wail to the lonely tide.

Drake faced them all like a lion at bay, with his lion head upflung:
“Dare ye my word of law defy, to say that this traitor shall not die?”
And his captains dared not meet his eye but each man held his tongue.
….
The axe flashed silver in the sun, a red arch slashed the sand;
A voice cried out as the head fell clear, and the watchers flinched in sudden fear,
Though ’twas but a sea-bird wheeling near above the lonely strand.

“This be every traitor’s end!” Drake cried, and yet again;
Slowly his captains turned and went, and the admiral’s stare was elsewhere bent
Than where cold scorn with anger blent in the eyes of Solomon Kane.

Night fell on the crawling waves; the admiral’s door was closed;
Solomon lay in the stenching hole; his irons clashed as the ship rolled,
And his guard, grown weary and overbold, laid down his pike and dozed.

He woke with a hand at his corded throat that gripped him like a vise;
Trembling he yielded up the key, and the sombre Puritan stood up free,
His cold eyes gleaming murderously with the wrath that is slow to rise.

[from “The One Black Stain”; to read the complete poem, see The Collected Poetry of Robert E. Howard, p. 28; Robert E. Howard Selected Poems, p. 431]

Posted in REH Poetry, Word of the Week |

REH Word of the Week: ane

Posted by Barbara Barrett on 28th October 2013

ane3

noun

1. one; [according to the Scottish-English translation website, it can also be used to avoid repeating a noun of the kind already mentioned, e.g., REH’s usage below could be: The world’s my world, I’ll gang!]

[origin: before the 12th century; Middle English an, variant of on one]

HOWARD’S USAGE:

“I’ve hands and a tongue and I am young
“And aye, the road is long,
“Shall I bide at home like a moss-co’ered stone?
“The world’s my ane, I’ll gang!”

Over the rolling oceans,
The Scotchman wandered wide,
As free as the singing sea winds,
As free as the wandering tide.

[from “The Rover”; to read the complete poem, see The Collected Poetry of Robert E. Howard, p. 631 and Rhymes of Salem Town, p. 129]

Posted in REH Poetry, Word of the Week |

REH Word of the Week: begad

Posted by Barbara Barrett on 21st October 2013

7 up2
civil war card game

interjection

1. used to express mild surprise or for emphasis; a mild oath

[origin: archaic; euphemism for “By God”]

HOWARD’S USAGE:

Carl Macon was a kollege kid of far and wide renown,
Also a champ at seven-up and the wildest sot in town.
And in a way there came a day of high and lofty fame
For title of the eating house was the prize for a game.

Carl gave a yell and dealt the cards unto the other chumps
And they all whooped with joyous glee when diamonds turned up trumps.
“High, jack and game is here, begad!” Pink bellered with a scowl;
“You lie, you sot! You have it not!” Carl answered with a yowl.

Pink led the ace of trumps full soon, and “There,” said he, “is high!”
Carl followed suit, it was a trey, with a tough light in his eye.
Then Pink led out the queen of trumps and gave an ugly frown;
Carl snickered with unholy glee and laid a four spot down.

Pink swore full long and loud and rough and led the deuce of clubs;
Carl caught it with a king and said, “You’re all a lot of dubs.”
He led an ace and caught a king, “Here’s a game for me, egad!”
For many an ace and many a face the wicked scoundrel had.

[from “The Seven-Up Ballad”;to read the complete poem, see The Collected Poetry of Robert E. Howard, p. 604 and last page of the Appendix in Post Oaks and Sand Roughs]

Posted in REH Poetry, Word of the Week |

REH Word of the Week: mullah

Posted by Barbara Barrett on 14th October 2013

Black Dawn3

noun

1. an educated Muslim trained in religious law and doctrine and usually holding an official post

[origin: 1613; Turkish molla & Persian & Urdu mulla, from Arabic mawla]

HOWARD’S USAGE:

Mohammed, Buddha, Moses, Satan, Thor!
I lifted fanes to each of you betimes,
And proved your worth by murder, rape and war
And bloody whips and chants and pious rhymes.
My sacrificial smoke put out the sun;
I shook the world to give the gods a feast.
I read their kinship plain in every one—
The mullah, the evangelist, the nun,
The voo-doo dancer and the mumbling priest.
I knew you when you raised a dabbled beard,
And shook the gory dagger in the sky,
While trumpets crashed and horses neighed and reared
And victims on the altars sank to die.

[from “Black Dawn 3. Shrines”; to read the complete poem, see The Collected Poetry of Robert E. Howard, p. 188; Robert E. Howard Selected Poems, p. 469 and Night Images, p.20]

Posted in REH Poetry, Word of the Week |

REH Word of the Week: eyes-of-red-ice

Posted by Barbara Barrett on 7th October 2013

red ice

noun

1. “Mice with eyes of red ice” (see poem below) are albinos. The redness is due to the lack of the natural dark pigments of the iris. Instead what is seen is the color from their blood vessels. Referred to as tapetum lucidum, it is a reflecting structure that contains crystals. It is especially developed in many nocturnal animals, rodents, birds and it helps their eyes to catch all the available light. The redness is not in the iris (the outer part that gives eyes their color) but at the back of the eye, behind the retina.

When light shines directly into eyes that have a tapetum lucidum, it produces “eyeshine” (it appears to glow). Many fish have white eyeshine, some mammals have yellow or blue eyeshine, and others such as rodents have red eyeshine. Tapetum lucidum is an adaptation to life in environments with little light.

[origin: tapetum lucidem: Latin for “bright tapestry”]

HOWARD’S USAGE:

A granite wind sighed from the crimson clay desert.
A witch laid her shoon
On the horn of the moon;
The stars in the east
Were the robes of a priest,
And a granite wind roared from the crimson clay desert.

A king on a sapphire hill brooded forever.
A queen glimmered cold
In opal and gold;
Kissing white mice
With eyes of red ice,
And a king on a sapphire hill brooded forever.

[from “A Far Country”; to read the complete poem, see The Collected Poetry of Robert E. Howard, p. 281; Robert E. Howard Selected Poems, p. 151; and Shadows of Dreams, p. 73]

 

Posted in REH Poetry, Uncategorized, Word of the Week |

REH Word of the Week: abeam

Posted by Barbara Barrett on 30th September 2013

 

abeam3

adjective

1. off to the side of a ship or plane especially at a right angle to the middle of the ship or plane’s length

[origin: ca. 1836; nautical, literally on beam]

HOWARD’S USAGE:

Dusk on the sea; the fading twilight shifts;
The night wind bears the ocean’s whisper dim—
Wind, on your bosom many a phantom drifts—
A silver star climbs up the blue world rim.
Wind, make the green leaves dance above me here
And idly swing my silken hammock—so;
Now, on that glimmering molten silver mere
Send the long ripples wavering to and fro.
And let your moon-white tresses touch my face
And let me know your slim-armed, cool embrace
While to my dreamy soul you whisper low.

South Seas! I watch when dusky twilight comes
Making vague gods of ancient, sea-set trees.
The world path beckons—loud the mystic drums—
Here at my hand the magic golden keys
That fit the doors of Romance, Wonder, strange
Dim gossamer adventures; seas and stars.
Why, I have roamed the far Moon Mountain range
When sunset minted gold in shimmering bars.
All eager eyed I’ve sailed from ports of Spain
And watched the flashing topaz of the Main
When dawn was flinging witch fire on the spars.
…..
I am content in dreams to roam my fill
The vagrant, drifting sport of wind and tide,
Slave of the greater freedom, venture’s thrill;
Here every magic ship on which I ride.
Gold, green, blue, red, a priceless treasure trove,
More wealth than ever pirate dared to dream.
My hammock swings—about the world I rove.
The sunset’s dusk, the dawning’s glide and gleam,
Moon-dappled leaves are murmuring in the wind
Which whispers tales. Lo, Tyre is just behind,
Through seas of dawn I sail, Romance abeam.

[from “The Adventurer”; to read the complete poem, see The Collected Poetry of Robert E. Howard, p. 269 and Robert E. Howard Selected Poems, p. 112]

Posted in REH Poetry, Word of the Week |

REH Word of the Week: neive

Posted by Barbara Barrett on 23rd September 2013

Rane

noun

1. closed or clenched fists

[origin: mid-to late 1700’s; auld warld Scots language from the Robert Burns or Sir Walter Scott era]

HOWARD’S USAGE:

Rane o’ the Sword, wha’ men misca’ the fool,
Has turned his galley to the unco’ lands;
Now in the dragon girten prow he stands.
Billows abune the token o’ his rule,
Great fold on fold, the rover’s banner spread.
The hard neives dirl the ash ayint the tide
The war shields klish amain alang the side,
The red moon hammers dune a sea o’ red.

Rane o’ the Sword, nae sairly do we greet
To see your taps’yls scuddin’ dune the west,
Nae muckle love bear we for a’ your breed—
Bluid willna dry like water—yet ’tis meet
We gi’ ye due, that curious unrest
Wha’ gars ye seek the deed beyant the deed.

[from “The Deed Beyond the Deed”; this is the complete poem as it appears in The Collected Poetry of Robert E. Howard, p. 10]

[to see a translation of this poem, go to the Conan Forum Poetry and Verse of REH thread: http://www.conan.com/invboard/index.php?showtopic=3484&page=57#entry230979]

 

Posted in REH Poetry, Word of the Week |