O’er the midnight moorlands crying,
Thro’ the cypress forests sighing,
In the night-wind madly flying,
      Hellish forms with streaming hair;
In the barren branches creaking,
By the stagnant swamp-pools speaking,
Past the shore-cliffs ever shrieking;
      Damn’d daemons of despair.

Once, I think I half remember,
Ere the grey skies of November
Quench’d my youth’s aspiring ember,
      Liv’d there such a thing as bliss;
Skies that now are dark were beaming,
Gold and azure, splendid seeming
Till I learn’d it all was dreaming—
      Deadly drowsiness of Dis.

But the stream of Time, swift flowing,
Brings the torment of half-knowing—
Dimly rushing, blindly going
      Past the never-trodden lea;
And the voyager, repining,
Sees the wicked death-fires shining,
Hears the wicked petrel’s whining
      As he helpless drifts to sea.

Evil wings in ether beating;
Vultures at the spirit eating;
Things unseen forever fleeting
      Black against the leering sky.
Ghastly shades of bygone gladness,
Clawing fiends of future sadness,
Mingle in a cloud of madness
      Ever on the soul to lie.

Thus the living, lone and sobbing,
In the throes of anguish throbbing,
With the loathsome Furies robbing
      Night and noon of peace and rest.
But beyond the groans and grating
Of abhorrent Life, is waiting
Sweet Oblivion, culminating
      All the years of fruitless quest.

by H.P. Lovecraft (1890-1937)

Posted (a bit late) to mark the 75th anniversary of Lovecraft’s death on March 15th 1937. You can see the very strong  influence of Edgar Allen Poe’s The Raven on this poem…

3 Responses to “Despair”

  1. Monica Grady Says:

    It was a gloriously sunny day today. Couldn’t you find something a bit more jolly? Even in then works of HPL? Why not ‘Sunset’:

    The cloudless day is richer at its close;
          A golden glory settles on the lea;
    Soft, stealing shadows hint of cool repose
          To mellowing landscape, and to calming sea.

    And in that nobler, gentler, lovelier light,
          The soul to sweeter, loftier bliss inclines;
    Freed form the noonday glare, the favour’d sight
          Increasing grace in earth and sky divines.

    But ere the purest radiance crowns the green,
          Or fairest lustre fills th’ expectant grove,
    The twilight thickens, and the fleeting scene
          Leaves but a hallow’d memory of love!

  2. […] Despair ( […]

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