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Tribute Poem
Posted by: metsat00 (IP Logged)
Date: 10 December, 2011 02:55AM
A tribute poem to Clark Ashton Smith, offered by Sandor Szabo.

--

Lilitu

In vigilambulism
The nights were lost it seems
Held in the searing clutches
Of absinthe fevre-dreams

Temptress immedicable
Coaxed mad oaths from my lips
Ensconced in viscid claspings
'Tween blissful, lissom hips

Mating my demonlover
As moons hurtled their tracks
Damning my mortal body
With Asmodean pacts

I drank its burning kisses
Reveled with raptured wails
Heedless of gashes carven
By its uncinate nails

The days grow insubstantial
The midnight hours are lost
But I dare not stop to count
The soul-blaspheming cost

Re: Tribute Poem
Posted by: treycelement (IP Logged)
Date: 15 December, 2011 05:25AM
metsat00 Wrote:

> A tribute poem to Clark Ashton Smith, offered by
> Sandor Szabo.
>
> --
>
> Lilitu
>
> In vigilambulism
> The nights were lost it seems
> Held in the searing clutches
> Of absinthe fevre-dreams
>
> Temptress immedicable
> Coaxed mad oaths from my lips
> Ensconced in viscid claspings
> 'Tween blissful, lissom hips
>
> Mating my demonlover
> As moons hurtled their tracks
> Damning my mortal body
> With Asmodean pacts
>
> I drank its burning kisses
> Reveled with raptured wails
> Heedless of gashes carven
> By its uncinate nails
>
> The days grow insubstantial
> The midnight hours are lost
> But I dare not stop to count
> The soul-blaspheming cost.

I liked this: besotted logophilia in the finest decadent tradition. But if you are Hungarian, have you thought about translating any of CAS's work for the site?

Something else I've enjoyed recently (but I doubt I'd've guessed the author):

Memories (1930)

"The eradication of memories of the Great War." -SOCIALIST GOVERNMENT ORGAN

The Socialist Government speaks:

THOUGH all the Dead were all forgot
And razed were every tomb,
The Worm-the Worm that dieth not
Compels Us to our doom.
Though all which once was England stands
Subservient to Our will,
The Dead of whom we washed Our hands,
They have observance still.

We laid no finger to Their load.
We multiplied Their woes.
We used Their dearly-opened road
To traffic with Their foes:
And yet to Them men turn their eyes,
To Them are vows renewed
Of Faith, Obedience, Sacrifice,
Honour and Fortitude!

Which things must perish. But Our hour
Comes not by staves or swords
So much as, subtly, through the power
Of small corroding words.
No need to make the plot more plain
By any open thrust;
But-see Their memory is slain
Long ere Their bones are dust!

Wisely, but yearly, filch some wreath-
Lay some proud rite aside-
And daily tarnish with Our breath
The ends for which They died.
Distract, deride, decry, confuse-
(Or-if it serves Us-pray!)
So presently We break the use
And meaning of Their day!

Rudyard Kipling



“The true independent is he who dwells detached and remote from the little herds as well as from the big herd. Affiliating with no group or cabal of mice or monkeys, he is of course universally suspect.” — The Black Book of Gore Vidal.

Re: Tribute Poem
Posted by: metsat00 (IP Logged)
Date: 17 December, 2011 01:42AM
Aloha Treycelement,
Actually, I'm American of Hungarian descent and don't speak a word of the Magyar tongue. But I'll try to keep contributing to the web site in the only language in which I'm semi-fluent. Mahalo,

Sandor

Re: Tribute Poem
Posted by: Tantalus (IP Logged)
Date: 18 December, 2011 05:13AM
Thank you Sandor. I enjoyed it.

I have mentioned on this forum before that I also really enjoy, and am impressed by, your stories. For anyone not familiar with them you can find them here -

Slave Wind - [www.eldritchdark.com]

Along Came a Spider - [www.eldritchdark.com]

I like them both but I especially like Slave Wind.

I wish you would write more. :-)

Re: Tribute Poem
Posted by: K_A_Opperman (IP Logged)
Date: 18 December, 2011 06:02PM
Delightful! I do like Slave Wind--especially the last sentence! Makes me want to have a go. Long prose pieces are often tiresome to write--it would be refreshing to write something short. I just may.... Dammit, I will! And I've got just the idea....

Re: Tribute Poem
Posted by: metsat00 (IP Logged)
Date: 19 December, 2011 02:11AM
Thanks Tantalus,
Your kind words are appreciated. Living in the near-paradise of Hawai'i is emotionally blissful; it's not often possible to delve into the dark wellsprings of pain and self-destructiveness that once fueled my minor attempts at CAS-styled writings. (Kind of like Sting's music started to suck after he stopped using cocaine ... though good for his health and serenity). But I'll give it a shot.

Sandor Szabo

Re: Tribute Poem
Posted by: metsat00 (IP Logged)
Date: 19 December, 2011 02:23AM
P.S. Best of luck to you K_A_Opperman. Looking forward to reading your short story or poem.

Sandor Szabo

Re: Tribute Poem
Posted by: calonlan (IP Logged)
Date: 23 December, 2011 11:15AM
Kyle will do well with this project - small note for those who seek the deeper precision - using the Paradise for Hawaii is alright these days since the common usage is so widely dispersed now that no one would be confused by it - however, this old Persian word actually means "an enclosed garden" (the "para-" is the same as in parallel) -
The Taj Mahal and numerous other monuments and palaces in old Persia have enclosed gardens with a central fountain feeding 4 streams that flow in the cardinal directions - emulating (badly) the description of Eden and the four streams which originate there - side note, among my fellow scholars there is substantial agreement that the recent translation of the "Journal of the journey of the Emissary of King Enmerkar to Urartu" from Babylonian provides ample proof that Eden was almost certainly at the location of the modern Turkish city of Tabriz - A layman may find access to this information in David Rohl's "Genesis: the origin of Civilization" -

A Second Tribute Poem
Posted by: metsat00 (IP Logged)
Date: 6 January, 2012 12:39AM
With deepest respect for a Master of poetry whose quatrains have graced and enriched my life, hoping that the eternal sleep is everything he conjectured and more -- Sandor Szabo.


Emperor of the Eldritch Dark

Sleep and dream most deeply o Thaumaturgist rife
Held spellbound in a sarcophagus verdigris-green
Lovingly entombed in an Incantation sublimer e'en
Than the weird phantasmagoria you evoked in life

Wherein your sovereign Brain soared
Higher than empyrean gyrfalcons streaking
Sinking deeper than corpse-flowers reeking
Whose molten roots to abyssal Hells bored

Giving tongue to blasphemous Prayers you
Awoke hyperborean flames within my breast
Illumed avenues of lust hitherto unguessed
Poisoned, profane, perverse yet -- True

Naked, alone upon elysian heights your Verse
Manumitted into daylight arcanities unknown
Ten thousand Worshippers labored to own
A mere glimmer of your dark genius/curse

Sleep and dream most richly o Apostate of heaven
Author of hideous allurements, resplendent malignities
A flickering sun will sink 'neath bloody eastern seas
Ere this earth births a Soul so unearthly again

Re: Tribute Poem
Posted by: K_A_Opperman (IP Logged)
Date: 6 January, 2012 01:36AM
Sandor,

I quite like your poems--and I happen to be the Poetry Editor of newly created Dark River Press. Unlike most zines on the net, we like and encourage formalism. We are one of very few zines--maybe the only one--which would accept anything written by CAS, if he were still alive, in a heartbeat--though I would be horribly dismayed at his completely occulting my own verse.... :(

Anyway, feel free to check out our submission guidelines here: [www.darkriverpress.com] (scroll down to the very bottom for special poetry guidelines!)

And you may see something you like on our dark Poetry Pages (a sampling of my own poems can be seen there, and D. L. Myers is not to be missed): [www.darkriverpress.com]

We intend on becoming the hotspot for 'dark poetry' on the net. Anyone reading this, formalist or free verse (as long as it's dark and well-wrought), is welcome to submit.

K. A. Opperman

A Third Tribute Poem
Posted by: metsat00 (IP Logged)
Date: 6 January, 2012 06:14AM
With apologies for lifting the rhyming scheme from a distinguished Oxford don, and borrowing H. P. Lovecraft's nickname for Clark Ashton Smith I offer the following tribute poem. Sandor Szabo


Prophecy

The master took his sharpened quill
He wrote until the night was still
The words were dark, occult and stark
Yet pleased the ear as verses will

The pale man's eyes were gaunt and sere
His pen strokes rushed as though by fear
Yet eldritch words, aflight like birds
Appeared in quatrains dour and clear

Aflame with fever ill-contained
To set down visions unconstrained
The words set loose, as from a noose
No more would omens be restrained

Princes wept as their empires fell
Karcists perished and sank to Hell
And demons dire, their eyes afire
Slaked monstrous thirsts and feasted well

Vampires stalked amid Zothique's halls
Death and disease bestrode the walls
The townsmen cried, and fell and died
And o'er the wrack a banshee calls

No longer king on gilded throne
Or slaves and minions bowing prone
The ravens feast, on great and least
Who lie without cairn, grave or stone

Silence reigns where emperors strode
Owls roost in the wizard's abode
Floors gather dust, as iron rust
For none the dead do discommode

The guttering sun fails at last
And mankind's aeons now are past
Love and fear alike disappear
The final dark o'er all is cast

Adown the master sets his quill
His tale is told for good or ill
A warning clear, if we will hear
Now all is quiet, calm and still

Klarkashton well now has spoken
Hark to what his rhymes betoken
Or know no peace, no soul release
'Til the eldritch seer is woken

Re: Tribute Poem
Posted by: K_A_Opperman (IP Logged)
Date: 6 January, 2012 02:08PM
A wonderful poem. You need not apologize for borrowing 'others'' rhyme schemes--Klarkash Ton himself did it--every poet does it. And what is the crime in calling someone by their true name? ;) Just curious, have you ever considered using punctuation?

Do see my note above, below your previous poem. If you want to truly glorify our beloved Klarkash Ton, these works should see a larger audience who is not yet familiar with him--and I can help with that....

K. A. Opperman

A larger audience
Posted by: metsat00 (IP Logged)
Date: 6 January, 2012 07:21PM
Aloha K. A. Opperman,
Although all authors who take up pen are influenced by others, when the similarity becomes inescapable it's respectful to acknowledge, as Sir Isaac Newton put it, that we stand on the shoulders of giants. Just my way of paying a debt of gratitude to J. R. R. Tolkien (who was himself a generous borrower of literary ideas).

Your offer of expanding readership of my literary attempts is generous and appreciated but not a direction I wish to pursue. The dark and obscure avenues Clark Ashton Smith chose to tread are by their very nature paths of solitude and circumspection, wary of entanglements and eschewing exposure to the tumult of throngs. The select audience of the Eldritch Dark is exactly as it should be. The few souls who choose to walk these shadowy trails far off the beaten track are not here by accident. It seems there is benefit to having a modestly sized group of likewise-minded scholars who choose to seek out and share a particular oeuvre of literary experience. This is my personal belief; other Eldritch Dark readers and contributors may feel differently and I respect their opinions.

Perhaps an analogy will serve: in Hawai'i there are hundreds of hiking trails. Some are famous and crowded, others are obscure and do not even appear in published hiking guides. I enjoy them all. On the mainstream hikes I'll invite friends and acquaintances. But a select few trails are remote, difficult and particularly dangerous; you can hike for hours through nearly impenetrable forest and scale dizzying cliffs without meeting another soul ... infrequently you may chance to meet another solitary wanderer. While they're open to any who choose to hike them, to me these trails are sacrosanct and I don't speak about them or invite even my closest friends. If they are meant to find themselves on these trails, they will. And then I will welcome them happily.

Wishing you the very best success with your zine and your writing of poems and stories. Mahalo,

Sandor Szabo

Re: Tribute Poem
Posted by: K_A_Opperman (IP Logged)
Date: 6 January, 2012 08:10PM
Well, Sandor, should you change your mind, you know where to find us. I understand your reasoning perfectly, and am not surprised. I, however, prefer to be in the spotlight!--though too big a spotlight, I confess, might frighten me for various reasons.... ;)

Though you don't wish to participate, the site is worth visiting for its poetic content--though the quality and style varies, of course. There is something of the spirit of the ED there, as I am obsessed with CAS, frequent this forum, and choose all the poetry that is shown on the site and in the ebook. Naturally, my love of CAS and formalist poetry influences my selection process a bit.... ;) But of course, I have no idea what sort of people are reading the content; and it may be that a majority of visitors do not share my--our--tastes....

K. A. Opperman

Re: A larger audience
Posted by: calonlan (IP Logged)
Date: 8 January, 2012 08:41PM
Sir, I urge you to accept Kyle's invitation - you write well, and will only, like good wine, improve with age -

the Muse dispenses her gifts with care, and you would be unwise to anger her - publishing in this genre will not create hordes beating down your door - but will enrich the like-minded among us, as, I trust, you are enriched by the others who share themselves here - letting others read your poetry is, I admit, like opening a vein - it can feel suicidal but in fact becomes a transfusion for the ever-thirsty dwellers in the gulf - myself among them - If I may speak for Clark in this instance - when the poet becomes discouraged and feels that his vision must be empty of value since it seems that no one else hears or sees or cares, then he may stop listening, and even lose the desire to visit the Spring - Sir: we need you - and - I think you need to know that we need you to sing - do it - humbly yours, Dr. Farmer - fan

Re: A larger audience
Posted by: metsat00 (IP Logged)
Date: 10 January, 2012 03:04AM
Many thanks Calonlan; most kind of you to say.

Re: Tribute Poem
Posted by: K_A_Opperman (IP Logged)
Date: 10 January, 2012 03:33AM
Sandor, I would accept all 3 of the poems in this thread for publication, no question about that (I will take up to 5). And neither would we mind that they had first appeared here--even though most zines would.

You hear that all you lurkers?! Submit some poems to Dark River Press! We actually like the good stuff! You heard Calonlan! Commit poetical suicide! Give us some blood to suck! I'm thirsty, dammit!

K. A. Opperman

Re: Tribute Poem
Posted by: metsat00 (IP Logged)
Date: 10 January, 2012 04:31AM
Taking a break from poetry to grapple with a nascent short story. It's been struggling to express itself for years ever since reading a deliciously perverse CAS story, but the individual strands are only now beginning to form a hazy pattern. Not sure it will ever coalesce into readable form. But it's fun to wrestle with it anyway.

Sandor Szabo

Re: A larger audience
Posted by: treycelement (IP Logged)
Date: 10 January, 2012 05:38AM
metsat00 wrote:

> The dark and
> obscure avenues Clark Ashton Smith chose to tread
> are by their very nature paths of solitude and
> circumspection, wary of entanglements and
> eschewing exposure to the tumult of throngs. The
> select audience of the Eldritch Dark is exactly as
> it should be. The few souls who choose to walk
> these shadowy trails far off the beaten track are
> not here by accident. It seems there is benefit
> to having a modestly sized group of
> likewise-minded scholars who choose to seek out
> and share a particular oeuvre of literary
> experience. This is my personal belief; other
> Eldritch Dark readers and contributors may feel
> differently and I respect their opinions.
>
> Perhaps an analogy will serve: in Hawai'i there
> are hundreds of hiking trails. Some are famous
> and crowded, others are obscure and do not even
> appear in published hiking guides. I enjoy them
> all. On the mainstream hikes I'll invite friends
> and acquaintances. But a select few trails are
> remote, difficult and particularly dangerous; you
> can hike for hours through nearly impenetrable
> forest and scale dizzying cliffs without meeting
> another soul ... infrequently you may chance to
> meet another solitary wanderer. While they're
> open to any who choose to hike them, to me these
> trails are sacrosanct and I don't speak about them
> or invite even my closest friends. If they are
> meant to find themselves on these trails, they
> will. And then I will welcome them happily.

This is one of the best things I've ever read on the forum. It made me think again that the forum needs a "Best Of" sticky or similar, so good posts don't fade into history. A Foral Florilegium?



“The true independent is he who dwells detached and remote from the little herds as well as from the big herd. Affiliating with no group or cabal of mice or monkeys, he is of course universally suspect.” — The Black Book of Gore Vidal.

Tribute Short Story
Posted by: metsat00 (IP Logged)
Date: 15 January, 2012 08:15PM
The germ of this story was implanted in my imagination many years ago upon reading CAS' fleeting but piquant prose poem "Ennui". Both the evocative language and CAS' ability to paint such a lush canvas in so few words were remarkable, and long after setting down the book I found myself wondering about the provenance and motivations of the dissolute emperor. Lately the internal impetus to flesh out the tale below has poked and prodded irritatingly, so much so that I finally had to set aside the poetry that was beginning to become enjoyable and finish this dratted story in order to have a moment's peace. While this tribute falls short of the lofty mark it aimed for, I'd like to hope CAS might have been amused had he had the opportunity to read it. -- Sandor Szabo





Second Sights


That the gerent augury, cast half a century after the Caleph's natal day in accord with Xiccarph's antediluvian praxis, would have been adjudged inauspicious had living mortals ever witnessed the residuum must be deemed an understatement beggaring credulity. For after painstakingly sighting his astrolabes and sextants, distilling the spagyric allotropes in retorts and alembics, scrupulously alloying the necessary molten admixture within an adamantine crucible and recalculating his algorismic computations, the royal astrologer-savant hastily dissolved his marginalia in a bath of caustic ichor, set his parapet-mounted observatory ablaze and performed a ritual act of defenestration. The night watch found his mangled corpse precisely sixty-six ells below splattered against the titian cobblestones, an aspect of unutterable horror disfiguring his otherwise patrician physiognomy. It speaks to the woefully discordant state of affairs within the court of Yuundal that no credible attempt was thereafter undertaken to entice the multifarious and notoriously avaricious non-royal astrologer-savants within the city's walls to recast the auspice.

-------

Chataghai the Numinous, twenty-sixth Caleph of Yuundal and overlord of the endless steppe, slumped further into the cushions of his throne and sighed glumly. Another tedious afternoon presiding over a bickering court had morphed into a dreary evening distinguishable only by the kindling of stelae-mounted flambeaus throughout the chalcedony throne room. Regrettably the plenipotentiaries from the Soomish emperor had punctiliously adhered to every byzantine dictum of Xiccarphian diplomatic protocol and given him no pretext whereby to employ the head torturer's neoteric apparatus upon them. Leering out of habit at the salacious swaying of twin dancing girls clad only in tinkling anklet bells who danced to the tricrotic notes of desert zithers, he mourned the lack of stirring beneath his capacious paunch. Many turnings of the seasons had past since his corpulent body had been able to derive carnal pleasure from such strumpets. Blearily surveying for the thousandth time his throne hall and its levy of courtiers, gloom descended over his thoughts in a manner not unlike the lunar eclipses. Every fawning sycophant's polished attempt to curry his favor seemed repellently transparent; his once-alluring (and once-faithful) leman sulked most unappetizingly amidst her clique of would-be paramours, his foremost warlord brusquely agitated to launch ruinously expensive expeditions against chimerical adversaries and of late even his madcap court harlequin failed to proffer beguiling diversion. Yet again Chataghai sensed the ever-vigilant eyes of the pedantic Grand Vizier fixed upon him. In a sudden fit of pique he thrust a plump, be-ringed hand into an aureate casket inhumed in the hassocks about his throne. Fumbling amongst the curiously glowing contents his pudgy fingers, delicately scented with pyk-flower attar where not smeared with grease from his latest repast, extracted a sphere the size of a basilisk's eye that glimmered and pulsed as if with inner life. The murkily glowing comestible vanished between his plump lips where it joined the deliquescing remnants of a brace of roasted lagomorphs, three velutinous simnels, half a dozen tart astrachans, and a decanter of Fillorish shiraz. The porcine monarch surreptitiously luxuriated in the tremor of choler that twisted his abstemious prime advisor's visage at the casual degustation of the shimmering globule. A sullen rage burbled through the dulling numbness of the Caleph's mind. To be judged by a servant, one baseborn at that, and found wanting! Such execrable impertinence from an upstart minion no potentate could abide, regardless of how accomplished his factotum might be in the dark arts. What long-held and perilous ambitions might even now be lurking behind that supercilious gaze? Covertly surveying his fuming wazir through slitted eyes, Chataghai the Numinous ruminated upon which permutations of excruciation would most fittingly punish such intolerable insurrection. The harbingers were suasive, action must be taken with alacrity … peradventure this very night.

Zaki al-Qimsh, Grand Vizier of Yuundal and Savant of the Quadrivium, fastidiously stroked his plaited grey beard and sighed glumly. Gritting worn teeth, he forced himself to consummate the abstruse exercise of the Thirteen Anticontumely Cogitations but failed to achieve his accustomed serene dispassion. A very frisson of outrage scattered his habitually ordered thoughts. Behind the dissembling facade of his inscrutable countenance, malaise and an aching sense of loss consumed him. To have lived to witness the senseless extirpation of an inestimably precious mage drop, of which no more than a handful were known to have survived in all Xiccarph, and the puerile squandering of its vast potentialities was beyond apperception. Had "the Numinous" Chataghai possessed even the slightest inherent arcane aptitude, the necrocannibalistic ingurgitation of the soul-essence of the centuries-dead magus contained within the hyaloid pellet would have imbued him with a fortnight of transmundane demiexistence. Warded by the deceased warlock's pnelotic essence, his soul could have roamed the astral plane at will conversing in perfect safety with seraphim, afreet, faey, incubi, djinn and even the remorseless ethereal daemons. However, seeing as the bilious imbecile entirely lacked the requisite theuregistic pedagogy, the dissolution of the sapid lozenge resulted in nothing more esoteric than a phlegmatic mental numbness and a catenation of hiccups perturbing his quadruple-chin into a grotesque tarantella. What other odious acts of hectoring profanation might be in the offing? For the thousandth time the Grand Vizier surveyed the court, ascertaining loyalties and rivalries, weighing in the cosmic balance his fealty to the throne against his geas to other preceptors. The bodement was compelling, action must be taken without delay … mayhap before the setting of the decrescent moons.

Saqqiyeh the Nenuphar, one-time mere harem chatelaine and now Court Mistress Most High, absently ran fingers through her ringleted, tinctured tresses and sighed glumly. Neither the exquisite weft of the costly silks adorning her voluptuous curves or the reassuring weight of the precious smaragd-studded bangles tinkling on her bare limbs could lift her spirits. Melancholy gnawed her viscera like the carbuncles that tormented her tender flesh following innominate, drunken debauches within Yuundal's rank bagnios. For the congerie of capricious mountebanks and sybaritic casuists clustering about the throne in hopes of regal favor she afforded no more than a weary, sardonic sneer. Inexorable and enfettering as a funereal shroud, despondency settled over Saqqiyeh, deepening the lines furrowing her brow and settling like sepulcher dust into the crows feet bordering her heavily kohled eyes. There was a time the Caleph could not bear to be separated from the solace of his Saqqiyeh's intimate embraces, even commissioning a luxurious dromedary-drawn yurt so she could accompany him on campaigns against rebels in the outer Yuundali provinces. Once, but long ago. For the thousandth time the callipygian doxy wearily surveyed the entire court through eyes whose lids were bedizened with dozens of glittering minikin jewels. Her peregrine-sharp gaze focused coldly on the loathsomely slim and nearly naked dancing girls gyrating upon a low malachite dais. Their pale, denuded sylph-like forms contrasted most disagreeably with her desert-swarthy and lushly flocculant ampleness. Even her clandestine inamorato, the Caleph's intrepid and dashing warlord, ogled the twain from beneath the eye-guards of his vulture-crowned helm when he felt himself unobserved. When even the ingestion of enchanted ptissans could no longer rouse the Caleph's desire into tumescence could repudiation or even uxoricide be far from his thoughts? The adumbration could no longer be ignored, action must be taken with dispatch … conceivably soon after this eventide.

Kayqubad Malik, Pasha of the Yuundali Horde, habitually adjusted the bronze cuirass indurated by cockatrice hide that warded his hulking torso and sighed glumly. Without volition his powerfully sinewed hand clenched empty air where his yataghan hilt would have been, were falchions sanctioned within the throne room. A venerable history of unseemly happenstances culminating in regicide had rendered such lethal objects under interdict within easy reach of the Caleph, with the exception of wicked looking tulwars held ready by the stalwart imperial bodyguards. For the thousandth time the myrmidon Kayqubad haughtily surveyed the court's torpid and impuissant hangers-on, adulators and malingerers. Dismal conjectures debouched across the Pasha's galvanic brain like wilderland accipiters pursuing fleet-winged gyrfalcons, each surmise more demoralizing than the next. Perfidious heretics infesting the foetid swamps vowed to the Caleph's assassination to unleash the prophecied Xiccarphian Cataclysm were rumored to be caching armaments deep within their reed-choked sanctuaries. Rogue warlocks under the Grand Vizier's cryptic ostracism had recently dared to gather in a skulking cabal in a remote stronghold a mere day's march beyond the Soomish border. His spies reported contumacious satraps in the outer cantons of the Caliphate vying with each other in assembling their own militias, tergiversating on the traditional provisos of the annual tribute to the dromedary-mounted royal horde. Yet the indolent fool of a Caleph rebuffed his pasha's urgent entreaties to crush these menaces with the iron fist of his regiment of steel-clad warriors. Addled by copious intoxicants, hoodwinked by perfumed flatterers and distracted by farcical funambulists, the elephantine ass of a suzerain ignored palpable threats as long as the full gamut of his licentious vices were satiated. These and other morbid cerebrations rode the Pasha like termagants, causing even his iron-thewed shoulders to sag dejectedly. The premonitions were exigent, action must be taken with elan … perhaps ere the rising of the triple suns.

Selim the Half-wit, the court's ironically cognomened, perennial Lord of Misrule, quaffed commodiously from a frothing horn of heliotropic inebrient and sighed glumly. Beneath his flamboyantly quadrated costume, set with jangling bells arranged in a quincunx motif, sweat soaked through his undergarments as his aging muscles ached afresh with each gamboling somersault and exaggerated genuflection. Arthritic asthenia pained the once acrobatic prankster transforming even the simple act of juggling a handful of rodules into an arduous tribulation. His japes and witticisms, once wont to plunge the Caleph, and by extension the entire court, into paroxysms of chortling glee now often suffered a public demise made more mortifying by the sepulchral silence in which they perished. Repressing a grunt of exertion, Selim executed an ambitious pirouette concluding with a clever, and potentially offensive, mimic of the Court Mistress Most High for comic emphasis. The effect was somewhat attenuated when he tripped over an unnoticed plinth and careened into an arrangement of fumitory shrubs. Selim's attempt to pass off his gaffe as a deliberate part of his divertissement met with an equivocal causatum. For the thousandth time his once twinkling eyes surveyed the entire court, wistfully seeking hails of acclaim, gestures of approbation or, more pragmatically, nods of merest acknowledgment. The Caleph's intransigent lack of interest in his efforts, and several furtive glances passing between the Court Mistress and the Pasha, which Selim sensed might indicate opprobrium if not in fact sinister intent, sent a wave of trepidation through him that squelched his pang of professional disappointment. Ever and anon a jester's gibes might lodge deep in the craw of a thin-skinned noble; who knew what deviltry any of them might stoop to if they judged him out of favor with his liege? A stifling, dolorous fog descended over Selim's habitually buoyant psyche. The hazards were conceivably mortal, action must be taken with discretion … perchance during this night's witching hour.

-------

Soloch the Resplendent, Magister of the Tower of Black Sorcery, fingered the necromantic talisman about his throat and sighed avidly. The crimson sun setting over the fulvous arid steppe beyond the towers of Yuundal's capital cast the shadow of an achromatic terebinth across the inexorable visage couched within the hood of his cerement-plain cloak. Soloch's youthfully handsome countenance, jet black hair and erect posture belied long years of arcane inquisition and the promised barter of his immortal soul to the Arch-fiend for the prodigious occult might he wielded thereby. His baleful gaze only hinted at the abyssal well of malice and thirst for vengeance fixated on the wielder of the Yuundali Caliphate's sceptre. Perhaps the twenty-first Caleph, great-grandsire of the current overlord, died having forgotten the deadly insult dealt a younger, neophyte Soloch at the end of a camel whip in Aishapul's main plaza. But to a cogent votarist bound in soul-chattelry to Thaisadon, decades and the inevitable reincarnations of mens' souls are as the passing of mere moons, and even the leviathan of the deeps is a paltry and nugatory force compared with the compulsion of a thaumaturge's malignant vendetta. Inquire of the deceased sorcerers of Tarkell, whose souls writhe on the calescent floors of the ninth Hell even as their mantically reanimated corpses howl for the true death, whether even the dreadful vassals of Tolometh could withstand Soloch's hideously puissant invultuations. A merciless ablution of unhallowed horrors would transmogrify Yuundal into a gargantuan abattoir this night that would become shuddering legend across Xiccarph. Tracing cryptic sigils in the night air with dextrous fingers in a script forgotten millennia ere the first protohuman stood upright on two legs, Soloch began to utter his inchoate and apocalyptic incantation …

Re: Tribute Short Story
Posted by: treycelement (IP Logged)
Date: 23 January, 2012 07:55AM
metsat00 wrote:

> Second Sights
>
> That the gerent augury, cast half a century
> after the Caleph's natal day in accord with
> Xiccarph's antediluvian praxis, would have been
> adjudged inauspicious had living mortals ever
> witnessed the residuum must be deemed an
> understatement beggaring credulity. For after
> painstakingly sighting his astrolabes and
> sextants, distilling the spagyric allotropes in
> retorts and alembics, scrupulously alloying the
> necessary molten admixture within an adamantine
> crucible and recalculating his algorismic
> computations, the royal astrologer-savant hastily
> dissolved his marginalia in a bath of caustic
> ichor, set his parapet-mounted observatory ablaze
> and performed a ritual act of defenestration. The
> night watch found his mangled corpse precisely
> sixty-six ells below splattered against the titian
> cobblestones, an aspect of unutterable horror
> disfiguring his otherwise patrician physiognomy.
> It speaks to the woefully discordant state of
> affairs within the court of Yuundal that no
> credible attempt was thereafter undertaken to
> entice the multifarious and notoriously avaricious
> non-royal astrologer-savants within the city's
> walls to recast the auspice.

I don't find this as enjoyable as yr similarly logophilic poetry, but it's a good work-out for one's lexical faculties!



“The true independent is he who dwells detached and remote from the little herds as well as from the big herd. Affiliating with no group or cabal of mice or monkeys, he is of course universally suspect.” — The Black Book of Gore Vidal.

Re: Tribute Short Story
Posted by: metsat00 (IP Logged)
Date: 15 February, 2012 05:35AM
"I don't find this as enjoyable as yr similarly logophilic poetry, but it's a good work-out for one's lexical faculties!"

Aloha Treycelement,
Everyone is entitled to their opinion. Creation is difficult, criticism is effortless. In my eyes, and possibly the eyes of others, the opinions of those who contribute original tribute poems or short stories to this site weigh more heavily in the scale than the opinions of those who choose not to.

Having said that, I'm more pleased with the story (after leaving it alone for three weeks and re-reading it) than I expected to be. It's not a quick read, and was designed in the manner of the complex multi-layered and over-the-top delicious Lebanese baklava that I grew to love during my time in Iraq. Try as you may, you can't simply pop one in your mouth and swallow it down as Chatagai did the mage drop. Your teeth can't sink easily through the numerous layers of nuts and confections and surprisingly dense pastry, you must take your time and chew off bite-sized nibbles, even though doing so squishes honey glaze all over your fingers, to unlock and truly savor the aromatic essence of the baklava. But hey, some people just don't like baklava and that's cool too. Mahalo,

Sandor Szabo

Re: Tribute Short Story
Posted by: treycelement (IP Logged)
Date: 16 February, 2012 05:46AM
metsat00 wrote:

> "I don't find this as enjoyable as yr similarly
> logophilic poetry, but it's a good work-out for
> one's lexical faculties!"
>
> Aloha Treycelement,
>
> Everyone is entitled to their opinion. Creation
> is difficult, criticism is effortless. In my
> eyes, and possibly the eyes of others, the
> opinions of those who contribute original tribute
> poems or short stories to this site weigh more
> heavily in the scale than the opinions of those
> who choose not to.

Yes, I entirely agree -- but I know that one doesn't dismiss critics so readily when they say POSITIVE things about one's creations...

Not that it was a critique: merely a comment.



“The true independent is he who dwells detached and remote from the little herds as well as from the big herd. Affiliating with no group or cabal of mice or monkeys, he is of course universally suspect.” — The Black Book of Gore Vidal.

Re: Tribute Short Story
Posted by: metsat00 (IP Logged)
Date: 16 February, 2012 07:25PM
Aloha Treycelement,
No offense taken or proffered. Critical analysis, pro or con, is always welcome and ideally takes the form of reasoned, insightful commentary exploring the whys, hows and whats rather than a Boolean 'I liked it' or 'I didn't like it' which leaves the author as unenlightened as before the comment was made.

But as much as, or perhaps even more than, CAS' own works the tribute poems and stories on this web site are what keep CAS' legacy alive and vibrant. Imitation truly is the sincerest form of flattery, in the best sense of the word. Please consider offering some of your own original work. Mahalo,

Sandor Szabo

Re: Tribute Short Story
Posted by: treycelement (IP Logged)
Date: 18 February, 2012 06:14AM
metsat00 wrote:

> Aloha Treycelement,

> No offense taken or proffered. Critical
> analysis, pro or con, is always welcome and
> ideally takes the form of reasoned, insightful
> commentary exploring the whys, hows and whats
> rather than a Boolean 'I liked it' or 'I didn't
> like it' which leaves the author as unenlightened
> as before the comment was made.

My more reasoned reaction would be that the story is fun, but has too narrow a dynamic range: all the lexical dials are turned to 11, if I can (ahem) tap a pop-cultural reference for a moment... It's more Mahler than Mozart and cophosis starts to set in.

> But as much as, or perhaps even more than, CAS'
> own works the tribute poems and stories on this
> web site are what keep CAS' legacy alive and
> vibrant. Imitation truly is the sincerest form of
> flattery, in the best sense of the word. Please
> consider offering some of your own original work.

OK -- on yr own head be it! I'll see what I can (s)nail down among the tenebrose tendrils of the sinisterly seething, mephitic morass that passes for my mind...



“The true independent is he who dwells detached and remote from the little herds as well as from the big herd. Affiliating with no group or cabal of mice or monkeys, he is of course universally suspect.” — The Black Book of Gore Vidal.

Another Tribute Poem
Posted by: metsat00 (IP Logged)
Date: 3 May, 2012 06:36AM
Echoing previous apologies to other, better authors to whom I'm indebted ... please accept another tribute poem in honor of the late great Clark Ashton Smith. Mahalo,

Sandor Szabo

------------


Amid the Aureate Heather


The height of Summer on the downs
Where neither cloud or raven frowns
Upon the hills, the groves and rills
Where ardent Love and hope abounds

Full many a Fancy brought to life
Our joyful lusts and sins were rife
In Love we wrought, in Love were taught
Secrets anent Consort and wife

Were ever a pair so blessed as we
Conjoined in bliss and revelry
'Neath Heaven's gaze, as in a maze
Though wholly Lost, content to be

Until the day you fell with Swoon
Far paler e'en than gibbous moon
So wan your face, as angel lace
Our Happiness perish'd too soon

You lay aphasic on the crest
My heart sank down within my breast
You gave no Sigh, or word or cry
A Prayer to God my soul address't

For one more Day to spend with thee
Or but an Hour for thou and me
If Heaven cared, if mercy spared
A priceless Moment given we

Though zephyr through the gold Grain sighed
And umbras crept 'cross meadowside
Came Answer none, beneath the sun
As God my frantic plea denied

So as the stars crept from the sea
My Soul belched forth apostasy
"Dark lord of yon, Thasaidon
In Hell accept my fealty"

"If thou unite us once again
Though molten brimstone be our Gain
In death we clasp, our Love we grasp
Though damned fore'er we'll welcome pain"

To lovers true what matters Cost
Sworn souls embrace though all is lost
For Love still shines, through all confines
And corpses grin 'neath tombstones mossed

Take heed Thou petty God of Light
Who claims obeisance in Thy might
We shall not fear, we will not hear
Thy base judgment -- Thy Foe sets right

In future Heavens reft of sun
E'en Thou mayst yet reap a Summon
To answer late, Thy master Fate
As payment for all Thou hath done

And in that Cosmos dead and dire
Blackened and faded with cold Fire
Rememb'ring us, now scattered Dust
Thou mayst Repent, amend, suspire



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