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| Always Comes Evening ~ Moon Shame|
written by Robert Ervin Howard
|Fourth poem of Howard's "Voices Out of the Night" cycle:||Link to further information|
The great black tower rose to split the stars
In all the world below there was no light,
But other towers fringed the sky line spars
To mark that silent city of the night.
On one high altar nearest to the cold
Hard pallid moon that broke the velvet sky,
With waving plumes and mask of beaten gold
A grim nude figure stood, the priest and I.
The worshippers lay round in one dim ring
And on the altar's face that blackly shone,
A naked woman, cold and white and prone,
Lay silent to my frightful whispering.
My low, grim chanting ceased; like men who sinned
The worshippers about us caught their breath
And through my plumes I heard the night-born wind
Whisper a wordless monotone of death.
From hidden lutes there broke a grisly tune;
I reached an arm that plumbed the pulsing skies,
And tore from out her place the frosty moon
And laid it between those heavy naked thighs.
Then swift the change in fashion, form and shape,
I saw a faint mist shift and fade away,
And there a woman with a woman lay,
In shameful passion and unnatural rape.
Strange were her eyes, icy deep and icy cold
With passions human soul could never hold;
More cold and white than rarest ivory were
Her upturned, surging buttocks and her thighs,
And firm full breasts; her strange pale moonlight hair
Floated about her shoulders like a cloud;
No whisper broke the silence; still and cowed,
The people cringed before her icy eyes.
Beneath her thighs the woman whimpered twice
Then hid her eyes before those eyes of ice.
|Works by this author are in the public domain in countries where the copyright term is the author's life plus 78 years or less.|