The Poets

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Weird Tales ~ The Poets
written by Robert Ervin Howard
First published in Weird Tales, March 1938.

Out of the somber night the poets come,
   A moment brief to fan their lambent flame;
Then, like the dimming whisper of a drum,
   Fades back into the night from whence it came.

The gray fog, swirling cloak of cynic Time,
   Meshes achievement in the ages' gloom,
A moment's mirth, a breath of lilting rime,
   And then―the gray of old oblivions' womb.

Weaver of melodies all golden-spun
   The singer sings his song―and passes on.
The poets strum his lyre―then is one
   With gray-hued dusk and rose of fading dawn.

A moment's laughter on the winds of Time,
   A moment's ripple on Time's silent sea,
A golden riffle in the river's slime,
And then―the silence of Eternity.

Gray dust and ash where leaped the mystic fire,
   Mingled with air and wind the once-red flame;
Breeze-born the tune, but now forgot the lyre―
   Remains?―the musty thing that men call Fame.

Half-curious eyes that scan the yellowed page,
   All heedless of the makers of the feast―
Why, Pierrot might have been a musty sage,
   Francois Villon a stoled and sour priest.

Who penned this lyric? Who this sonnet? Whence
   The soul of fire that snared these stars in song?
Who knows? Who cares? A vast indifference
   Is all the answer of the marching throng.

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