REHupa

The Robert E. Howard United Press Association.

Archive for the 'Word of the Week' Category

REH Word of the Week: Ouse

Posted by Barbara Barrett on 15th July 2013

Ouse

The River Great Ouse is crossed by the Watling Street

noun

1. The Great Ouse is a river in the United Kingdom, the largest and longest of several British rivers bearing this name. It has a course of 143 miles (230 km) mostly flowing north and east and is the fourth longest river in the United Kingdom. It rises in Northamptonshire and then flows northwards—finally entering the North Sea at the Wash, close to King’s Lynn. North of Cambridge, it merges with the River Cam and then, shortly after, is joined by the River Little Ouse to Brandon Creek; it is at this point that the Great Ouse flows into Norfolk. The river then flows through the heart of the Norfolk Fens.

[origin: Celtic or pre-Celtic Udso-s and probably means simply *water* or slow flowing river. ]

HOWARD’S USAGE:

This is the tale of a nameless fight,
In a land forgot to dream and sight,
And a people lost in the gloom and night.

King Geraint ruled the western land
From the Roman Wall to Channel’s sand;
The Saxons held the eastern coast
By high-beaked galley and spear-tipped host.
They reached their hands from the eastern shore
And flooded the land with fire and gore.

King Geraint marched on the Watling Road,
Along the Ouse his banners showed.
Few his warriors but fierce his lords,
Dipped and reddened their worn swords.
He had scoured the land a-near and far,
He had sold his crown for the thews of war.
Knight and warrior and man-at-arms,
Yeoman drawn from the ravished farms,
Each was armed to suit his need,
Each one rode on a goodly steed.
The hoof-beat thunder sounded far—
So Geraint rode to his last red war.

[from “The Ballad of King Geraint”; to read the complete poem, see The Collected Poetry of Robert E. Howard, p. 73 and Robert E. Howard Selected Poems, p. 359]

Posted in REH Poetry, Word of the Week |

REH Word of the Week: Gath

Posted by Barbara Barrett on 8th July 2013

Philistine cities

Map of the five royal Philistine cities. Gath is located to the right of the last letter “I” in Philistines

noun

1. An ancient city of Palestine east-northeast of Gaza on which the ark brought calamity. . It was one of the five royal Philistine city-kingdoms and the home of Goliath. It occupied a strong position on the borders of Judah and Philistia.

[origin: Latin: Geth]

HOWARD’S USAGE:

I am ruler of the stars
I am master of Time’s pages
And I mock at chains and bars,
Now, as when I sailed the world
Ere the galley’s sails were furled

And the barnacles had crusted on their spars.
I am Strife, I am Life,
I am mistress, I am wife!
I am wilder than the sea wind, I am fiercer than the fire!
I am tale and song and fable, I am Akkad, I am Babel,

I am Calno, I am Carthage, I am Tyre!
For I walked the streets of Gaza when the world was wild and young,
And I reveled in Carchemish where the golden minstrels sung;
All the world-road was my path, as I sang the songs of Gath
Or trod the streets of Nineveh where harlots roses flung.

[from “Romance 1. (‘I am king of all the Ages’)”; to read the complete poem, see The Collected Poetry of Robert E. Howard, p. 524, Robert E. Howard Selected Poems, p. 125 and A Rhyme of Salem Town, p.22]

Posted in REH Poetry, REHupa history, Word of the Week |

REH Word of the Week: Pathan

Posted by Barbara Barrett on 1st July 2013

Pathan

noun

1. A member of a Pashto-speaking people of eastern Afghanistan and northwest Pakistan, constituting the majority population of Afghanistan most of whom are Muslim in religion.

[origin: 1638; Hindi & Urdu Paṭhan, from Pashto (eastern dialect) Paxtana, plural of Paxtun]

HOWARD’S USAGE:

Allah! . . . .
The long light lifts amain,
And down the cliffs the breezes start,
And in Zenana, Zanda’s heart
Turns to the Pathan hills again.

Black Himalaya!— desert girt,
Days gone a slim-limbed Afghan girl
Flung back a dark and vagrant curl
And mocked the wind that tore her skirt.

What if the silken curtains sway
And window bars be carven gold,
When Khyber skies are blue and cold,
And caravans wind up the way?

[from “A Song Out of the East”; to read the complete poem, see The Collected Poetry of Robert E. Howard, p. 251 and Night Images, p. 41]

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

REH Word of the Week: pinyon

Posted by Barbara Barrett on 24th June 2013

pinyon2

noun

1. (var. piñon); Any of several pine trees bearing edible, nutlike seeds, especially Pinus edulis, of the western United States and Mexico. Also called nut pine.

[origin: Spanish piñón, pine nut, pine cone, augmentative of piña, from Latin p nea, from feminine of p neus, of pine, from p nus, pine tree; see pei - in Indo-European roots]

HOWARD’S USAGE:

(Killed on the Tularosa River, New Mexico, 1878, in the bloody Lincoln County War.)

Buckshot Roberts was a Texas man;
(Blue smoke drifting from the pinyons on the hill.)
Exiled from the plains where his rugged life began.
(Buzzards circling low over old Blazer Mill.)

On the floor of ’dobe, dying, he lay,
Holding thirteen men at bay.
Thirteen men of the desert’s best,
True-born sons of the stark Southwest.
Men from granite and iron hewed—
Riding the trail of the Lincoln feud.

Fighters of iron nerve and will—
But they saw John Middleton lying still
In the thick dust clotted dark and brown,
Where Roberts’ bullet cut him down.

So they crouched in cover, on belly or knee,
Warily firing from bush and tree.
Even Billy the Kid held hard his hate,
Waiting his chance as a wolf might wait,
His cold gaze fixed on the brooding Mill
Where the black muzzle gleamed on the window sill.

They knew he had taken his mortal wound
And they waited like silent wolves around.
All but Dick Brewer who led the band:
His fury burned him like a brand.
Reckless he rose in his savage ire,
Stood in the open to aim and fire.

Roberts laughed in a ghastly croak,
His finger crooked and the old gun spoke.
Blue smoke spat and the whistling lead
Tore off the top of Brewer’s head.

The gnarled hands slid from the worn old gun;
A lark flashed up in the golden sun;
A mountain breeze went quivering past—
So he came to the long trail’s end at last.

[from “The Ballad of Buckshot Roberts”; to read the complete poem, see The Collected Poetry of Robert E. Howard, p. 481]

 

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

REH Word of the Week: pinion

Posted by Barbara Barrett on 17th June 2013

Bats2

noun

1. The wing of a bird, specifically the outer rear edge of the wing of a bird containing the primary feathers section 

[origin: 15th century; Middle English, probably modification of Anglo-French empignon, enpenoun flight feathers, ultimately from Vulgar Latin pinnion-, pinnio, from Latin pinna feather]

HOWARD’S USAGE:

A roar of battle thundered in the hills;
All day our iron blades drank deep in blood;
Till lighted with the flame the sunset spills
We saw against our backs the river’s flood.
Among its rocks the waters screamed and raced;
We had our choice, we wild rebellious slaves,
To die beneath the horrors that we faced
Or die amid the horror of the waves.
Aye, we were men who gathered at the marge,
And spear and insult at our foemen hurled—
They were not men who gathered for the charge,
But demons of a blood-black elder world.

Aye, breast to breast that final charge we met,
And blind with blood and slaughter, smote and slew;
Our broken swords were ghastly red and wet,
But still the bat-like pinions beat and flew,
And fearful talons dragged us to our doom,
And fiendish eyes flamed through the deepening gloom.
Still in the west there burned a fading flame,
When I rose reeling in a field of red,
And searching for our warrior king I came
And found him dead upon a heap of dead.
Demon and man, they silent lay, and still;
With cloven skull, rent heart and torn breast.
And now the moon was rising on the hill,
And now the light was dying in the west.
Aye, I alone of all that mighty horde
Still held my life; into a rough rude ring
I bent with waning strength a broken sword,
A diadem to crown a warrior king.
And on his red brow set the bloody crown,
Then Life gave up the ghost as night came down.

[from “A Crown for a King”; to read the complete poem, see The Collected Poetry of Robert E. Howard, p. 243, The Collected Poetry of Robert E. Howard, p. 481 and Always Comes Evening, p. 108]

Posted in REH Poetry, Word of the Week |

REH Word of the Week: dryad

Posted by Barbara Barrett on 10th June 2013

dryad1a

noun

1. In Greek Mythology, a divinity presiding over forests and trees; a wood nymph

[origin: Middle English Driad, from Latin Dryas, Dryad-, from Greek Druas, from drus, tree]

HOWARD’S USAGE:

Keresa, Keresita,
An echo shivers far
To the whispering groves and the star-lit pools
Where the woodland shadows are
And over the crest of the silver hills
Hovers a quivering star.

Keresa, Keresita,
Great Pan’s abroad this night,
I hear them whisper among the leaves,
Dryad and nymph and sprite,
Come to my arms and the couch of ferns
And the mellow silvery light.

[from “Keresa, Keresita”; to read the complete poem, see The Collected Poetry of Robert E. Howard, p. 326, Robert E. Howard Selected Poems, p. 90 and Shadows of Dreams, p. 28 ]

Posted in REH Poetry, Word of the Week |

REH Word of the Week: dun

Posted by Barbara Barrett on 3rd June 2013

dun2

adjective

1. a dull grayish-brown color; drab

[origin: before 12th century; Middle English, from Old English dunn]

HOWARD’S USAGE:

We are they

Who must forever sing the songs of defeat.
Our souls go robed in dun and sombre grey
And all the roads are broken under our feet.
Suns burn in crimson thunder down the west

Reddening the blooms that Fate’s black Titan picks
But charring skeletons inside our breast,
Each blackened sunset hangs—a crucifix.

For we are they that are born to songs of defeat—
The cup of gall and wormwood was our first drink—
Like ants we waver on Eternity’s brink
And cry on God in vain for a winding sheet.

[from “A Song of Defeat”; to read the complete poem, see The Collected Poetry of Robert E. Howard, p. 388 and Echoes From an Iron Harp, p. 76]

Posted in REH Poetry, Word of the Week |

REH Word of the Week: kohl

Posted by Barbara Barrett on 27th May 2013

-

(photo: Elizabeth Taylor as Cleopatra)

noun

1. a preparation used especially in Arabia and Egypt to darken the edges of the eyelids

[origin: ca. 1799; Arabic kuḥl]

HOWARD’S USAGE:

Along the road to Babel
When dawn was in the sky
I met you, girl of magic,
A morn of sorcery.

Your smile I still envision,
The splendor of your eyes,
The roses in your cincture
That paled beside your thighs.

As Luna dimmed to westward
You flung a golden chain
To snare the web of morning
Sun woven o’er the plain.

Your eyes were meres of magic
That hinted skylines far
Beneath your kohl dark lashes;
Each armlet held a star.

I took a belt of silver,
A silken veil from Crete,
A treasure of ambergris
And flung them at your feet.

Mylitta’s girdle stolen
From Punic lecterns high,
A golden fruit from Atlas
Who once upheld the sky.

[from “The Road to Babel”; to read the complete poem, see The Collected Poetry of Robert E. Howard, p. 305 and Shadows of Dreams, p. 67]

Posted in REH Poetry, Word of the Week |

REH Word of the Week: shallop

Posted by Barbara Barrett on 20th May 2013

shallop

noun

1. a usually two-masted ship with lugsails; a small open boat propelled by oars or sails and used chiefly in shallow waters

[origin: ca. 1578; Middle French chaloupe]

HOWARD’S USAGE:

Toil, cares, annoyances all fade away;
I care not who may run for President.
I drowse and swig my rum the live-long day,
And watch the shallops skimming o’er the bay.

[from “Toper”; This is the complete poem as it appears in The Collected Poetry of Robert E. Howard, p. 628 and Robert E. Howard Selected Poems, p.145]

Posted in REH Poetry, Word of the Week |

REH Word of the Week: Bhil

Posted by Barbara Barrett on 13th May 2013

 Bhil5

(photo: Forest bowman of the hills in Central India: the wiry archer, with his body’s weight “laid” to his well-stretched arc, is one of the Bhil tribe, a semi-savage people found mainly in Rajputana, the Central India Agency, and Bombay. They are a remnant of a Caucasian race, and owing to years of oppression took to the hills, where they became expert foresters. The archer’s cummerbund serves both as a sword-belt and quiver. )

noun

1. a member of an indigenous people of central India; a hill people of west central India having a bow-and-arrow culture

[origin: Hindi Bhīl, fr. Skt Bhilla]

HOWARD’S USAGE:

Men I have slain with naked steel,
Mahratta, Afghan, Jat and Bhil,
And German too, though they were white,
I’ve smote and slain in many a fight.
The Turk and Arab too, I’ve slain
Upon Arabia’s level plain.

And still the British sahibs say,
“Come, draw thy sword, Lal Singh, and slay!
“The foes press in on every hand
“And only thou canst save the land.”

Why should I sail beyond the sea
To slay the men of Arabee?
To do this but at the command
Of people of a foreign land?

[from “The Sword of Lal Singh”; to read the complete poem, see The Collected Poetry of Robert E. Howard, p. 68 and A Rhyme of Salem Town, p. 165]

Posted in REH Poetry, Word of the Week |