Posted by Barbara Barrett on 24th February 2014
1. the use of memory usually with little intelligence; mechanical or unthinking routine or repetition
[origin: early 14th century; Middle English]
Men sing of poets who leave their sheets
For the sighing dew to cool their brain,
But I have tramped through the silent streets,
Through tides of the midnight rain.
What was it drew me from my room
Into the rain and the night,
To the empty echoed pavements
And the street lamp’s guttering light?
Rather the night breeze in my face
And the night rain in my hair,
Than the cold of a phantom ridden place
And the Thing that waited there.
Oh fingers steel, oh fingers steel
That rend the brain and heart,
Perdition born, they do not scorn
In Hell your icy art.
Oh men that deep lie locked in sleep
Nor dream of such abyss,
Awake, awake and see me break
The sword of Lilith’s kiss.
The roof above, the bed below,
Your slumbering mate a-side
Oh, happy fools, what do you know
Of this inhuman tide?
Oh sleep ye sound, your windows frowned,
In orthodoxy wrath
At one who lost on nameless roads
Beats out his own long path.
Aye, sleep ye fools of rote and rules—
Brains break, though naught ye deem,
And torch and steel may make ye feel
The things whereof I dream.
[from “Shadows of Dreams”; to read the complete poem, see The Collected Poetry of Robert E. Howard, p. 390; Shadow of Dreams, p. 13; The Collected Letters of Robert E. Howard, v3, p. 485; and Robert E. Howard Selected Poems, p. 323]