Monday, October 31, 2022

Hallowe'en in a Suburb

 The steeples are white in the wild moonlight,
     And the trees have a silver glare;
Past the chimneys high see the vampires fly,
     And the harpies of upper air,
     That flutter and laugh and stare.

For the village dead to the moon outspread
     Never shone in the sunset’s gleam,
But grew out of the deep that the dead years keep
     Where the rivers of madness stream
     Down the gulfs to a pit of dream.

A chill wind weaves thro’ the rows of sheaves
     In the meadows that shimmer pale,
And comes to twine where the headstones shine
     And the ghouls of the churchyard wail
     For harvests that fly and fail.

Not a breath of the strange grey gods of change
     That tore from the past its own
Can quicken this hour, when a spectral pow’r
     Spreads sleep o’er the cosmic throne
     And looses the vast unknown.

So here again stretch the vale and plain
     That moons long-forgotten saw,
And the dead leap gay in the pallid ray,
     Sprung out of the tomb’s black maw
     To shake all the world with awe.

And all that the morn shall greet forlorn,
     The ugliness and the pest
Of rows where thick rise the stones and brick,
     Shall some day be with the rest,
     And brood with the shades unblest.

Then wild in the dark let the lemurs bark,
     And the leprous spires ascend;
For new and old alike in the fold
     Of horror and death are penn’d,
     For the hounds of Time to rend.

– H.P. Lovecraft


  1. I had to look it up. Lemur in the antique sense was an evil spirit or ghost. Nowadays it's just a smallish primate from Madagascar. Very different imagery!

    1. AD&D uses it in the older sense in the Monster Manual. The lemures are the lowest form of devil.

    2. Lemures is Latin for evil spirit or ghost, and sometimes spelled lemur in English. The primate is actually named after them - they're largely nocturnal and pretty creepy looking when the light catches their big reflective eyes in the dark, so you can see the inspiration. First instance of "lemures" being used for the primate goes back to 1795, coined by Linneus "because they go around largely by night." Prior to that it just meant spirit.