Out of the star enshrouded night it fell —
A battered derelict that space had maimed
Its hull a twisted wreck — its power tamed
And of its crew no living soul to tell.
Space dry and thin the rigid mummy sits
And marks a vigil only death may keep –
What endless night – what weary age of sleep
Has he kept sentinel? No lip admits.
That was a golden age — that world carefree
When men stood foursquare on the crust of Urth
And threw their challenge to the stars — with mirth
They swore to conquer all infinity.
So armed with courage knowledge would deny
Their fragile bulbs of steel were launched to float
Across the shallow solar gulfs — where bloat
Strange moons and planets in a crowded sky.
And then with knowledge astronautic gained,
With fire atomic as a willing slave,
Unto the silent God of Night they gave
An offering of ships — and men ordained
Of men imbued with seal the mystics know —
Who manned those mighty ether ships that fell
Like pebbles dropping down an endless well
Until they came to alien suns where glow
The incandescent vapors multihued —
Whose toxic gases burn with tourquoise light
Or smash the space-time continuum with white
Heat from a hellish dwarf — where planets brood
Like peering eyes that stare upon the doomed —
And from those new worlds of the starlit seas —
From island nebulae — from galaxies —
From burned-out suns whose glory once illumed
Weird destinies — here cosmic engineers
Set colonies along their orbit runs
‘Till navies filled with commerce of the suns
Bore fruit of conquest — for those pioneers
On the high sea of interstellar space
By trellised lace of orbit lines — and force
That binds each star and planet to its course
Had welded fast their empire. But the race
Of humankind had changed as aeons passed.
No longer was the man of Urth supreme
But cosmopolitian — had lost his dream
And tho he stood where wealth of knowledge massed
Had thrown his outposts to the chasmed lip
That marks the lightless, ultimate abyss
Beyond which shore no beacon sun may hiss
Or sibilate in silence — yet the whip
Of manly strength that was his heritage
Sank deep and fallow — while his gnurled machines
Were given to the task and thoughtless means
Of mindless android monsters who for gage
To measure used no human eye that scans
But walked in darkness shadowed by the length
Of instruments prehensible to strength
Of electronic solenoids — where spans
The rippled muscles of a force that spoke
The unleashed power of atomic might
Stripped from the glowing nucleus — where bright
And hot the whiplashed positrons broke
Against bedrock neutronium — but soft,
Effeminate and poised the progeny
Of space tanned mariners were dark debris
That bloated on the ebb tide — for aloft
The tentacles that spread to integrate
With calculus logistical the plan
That was to be Monument to Man —
A universe of virile peace — a state
Omnipotent of matter — held decay
And back the tide rolled — back across the years
Of light and peace — back down the trail of tears —
For empire is not won within a day
But must be purchased by the blood of those
Who dream the Greater Dream — and who would die
While searching in the archives of the sky
For knowledge that was placed beneath the Rose
So long ago — back to its place of birth
It slowly ebbed — and then along the sands
Of outpost planets it had washed — rough hands
Colonial were set against the Urth
And Chaos ruled. So came Tongueless One
To walk the empty spaceways — and to grin
With His huge imbecility — at men
Beat down into the dust and, beaten, shun
Their heritage. And now from Urth is seen —
When with a slow, majestic sweep begun
Each eventide at setting of the sun —
The Wheel of Stars parading down a screen
Sidereal — the constellations lost —
The solar systems — fertile worlds — and rocks —
The frigid planets — and the flame swept locks
Of guardian keeps on Mercury. The cost
Was paid in treasuries of energy
Extraneous — and toil and sweat and thought
Of terrene life to barren planets brought —
Ten billion New Worlds in immensity.
And now the old Urth — like a jeweled hag —
Her gem’ed cities bright against the breast
Of umbral shadows drapped across the West
From shoulders of the senile hills that sag
With weariness the ages slow erode —
Has gathered her ephemerae to dwell
In cities sealed and domed with crystal shell —
Here sit the Elder Brethren — here they bode
In vaulted halls to weigh the Cosmic Plan
By symboled logos — and as worlds set free
Launch each a space-borne fleet to destiny —
They comprehend the All — this was our Pan!
Upon the crags with ghostlight drenched
Writhe up the weres with hands outclenched
As now the chant of those undead
To He who rules below is read
By ghouls who gargoyle at the sky,
Red lipped with crimson, bloody dye,
Their twisting forms paint the rock
With flickering shadows of the Boch
To whom they offer down their prayer
On this Black Sabbath, in his lair
He ‘waits the moment of His sign
To sit upon this stony shrine
Among the shattered boulders strewn
As ever higher mounts the moon.
The Noon of Night approaches near,
Satanas Rex appear, appear.
Swiftly stalking ‘neath the moon
On wings of wind as though a boon
To place before His gathered host,
He, Overlord of souls now lost
Is seen across the foothilled plains
Sweeping up the mountain chains
‘Till towering far above the peak
The breeze moans – This is whom you seek.
Hushed as though by Death itself
Now lie the band upon a shelf
Of stone the juts above the deep,
Here cry the bats and witches weep
Beseeching Him with words that croak
Until He lifts His arms and cloak
To shroud them all in shadows dim
Hidden from the world by Him.
The Hexentanz begins its whirl
Within the cauldron entrails swirl.
Among those present at their grave
Are none but those whose soul is slave
To Satan Rex, the Lord of Hell,
King-Emperor of all who dwell
Within where leaps the flaming breath
Of blackened Sheol’s pit of death
For these are no common shades
But the officer elite of Hades
Whose cabalistic tonque is spoken
In this vague half-world on the Brocken
As in high state Satanas sits
While demon legions of the Pits
Pay homage to the Ho¨ lle Boch
On this witch-brewed Wahlpurgisnacht.
circa 1937-38 ev
WAR AND I
The warrior drums across the seas
Have rolled another war,
Embattled Britian stands at bay
Still proud above the roar
As keel on keel the sharks of steel
Are sliding down the way
The hawks of death in airy sleath
Are pouncing on their prey.
And once again America
Is gathering her strength
To hold the arteries of life
Across the ocean’s length;
To turn the tide, at Britain’s side,
To smash the pagan Hun,
And when the peace of battles cease
To right that which is done.
For this I must be merciless
For this I must be brave
For this I know the arts of war
For this I face the grave.
WEIGHTING AT THE GATE
They, the Norns, who sit and spin
The destinies of mice and men
Upon the weave and woof of time
Perhaps may understand the rhyme
And reason for facilities
Enhancing our puerilities
But I, with knobby head and small,
Have yet to hear the ringing call
Demanding that I rise and shine
The brazen altar of the shrine
On which they say the fates are stored
Because they leave me slightly bored.
So when my friends of karma prate
I give to them a swinging gait.
WHEN DAY IS DONE
The Day is done
There is no sun
To warm the race, and so they fled;
For Earth is old
In sweeps the cold
Entombed in space, and Earth is dead!
The shrilling wind
Across each bend
Mourns for the lost, mourns for the gone:
Gaze on its soars
Where is the host, this crumbling bone?
Across the void
In search of life have sent our shells:
Oh rest in peace
Our Mother, cease;
For toil and strife no more here dwells.
She lays not still within her grave
But, restless, bode herself behave
In manner strange; she trod the air
Where paced the world of Otherwhere
Until again the cycle runs
Its pattern in the weave of suns
And she may lodge herself within
Another form that is of men.
In the sanctum of the Cavern
By a phantom altar, burning
With desires mad and unhuman
Know we but the fiery yearning
Of our hearts that to each other
Cling in fear and wracked devotion;
In the red alembic bubbles
Venom of a lethal potion.
This to feed those who would part us
This to those who cackle “Witch”
This to the clergyman and Bishop
Bought with gold by robber rich.
This to barons in their manors
This to hangmen and the cell
This to henchmen of the kingdom
May the silent ghouls feed well.
This to those who inquisition
This to those who damn the free
This to murderers patrician
May they die in agony.
This to merchant, prince, and burgher
This to Pope and gilded lord
This to merceners who fatten
On the profits of the sword.
This be secret, dark, and eldritch
This be weapon, charged with worth
This to lift the curse of Mammon
From the peoples of the Urth.
Tell me, Pan, you of the Wilderness
That space wherein all men must dwell
If they would know thy secrets
Tell me, who is this Christ
This upstart godling?
And Pan answered, slowly, grimly sad
A fool, your Grace, oh mighty Zeus
An embassy of Typhon
Tho he may know it not.
He lives his own lies.
Then what can he mean to us, old goat?
Again Pan answered, wearily
Two thousand years and more, Lord,
Of famine, pestilence,
Death for my children.