Tag Archives: poetry

H.P. Lovecraft Really Liked Sending Christmas Poetry

H.P. Lovecraft Really Liked Sending Christmas Poetry

Hey, it’s December 2nd, how’d that happen? For a while now, I’ve taken the holiday season as an opportunity to share some of Lovecraft’s more seasonal, often strange, and always festive poetry. I even put a handy guide together last year. Many of these poems are filled with inside jokes and were written for specific individuals (and sometimes cats.)

But there was one poem that, until recently, I hadn’t been able to track down. Lovecraft’s 1918 verse: To the A.H.S.P.C., on Receipt of the Christmas Pippinhplovecraft.com, my go-to respiratory didn’t have it, and it wasn’t in any of the books in my collections. After some searching, I finally found a copy on the Hungarian site hplovecraft.hu and I present it here as written.


 To the A.H.S.P.C., on Receipt
of the Christmas Pippin

Like some astronomer, whose dazzled gaze
Looks for a star, but finds the moon’s bright rays,
The carping critick trembles with surprise
As the new Pippin greets his awestruck eyes!
Precocious train, whose infant genius glows
In faultless verse and Addisonian prose;
Whose countless talents scintillate and shine
Thro’ polish’d paragraph and lustrous line;
What ag’d assemblage can compare with you?—
Your gifts so many, yet your years so few!
High o’er the band euphonious HARPER tow’rs,
Blest with a poet’s and a cynic’s pow’rs;
Who can with equal skill and vigour shew
A press club’s virtues, and November’s snow,
And hold with majesty the office of a MOE.
Not less in altitude, nor less in wit,
See mighty GALPIN on his dais sit;
Swiftest of bards, whose hasting pen can trace
Impromptu numbers—foremost in the race!
From him we turn to THAYER—refulgent star—
(Tho’ inter nos methinks we turn not far:)
Experience gleams thro’ each pathetic verse—
O leer ye not—some day you’ll suffer worse!
But see!—above the present’s tawdry theme
Soars a fleet WING, with high auspicious dream;
Prophetic singer! ere thy lines are done,
Rejoicing Freedom views the vanquish’d Hun!
All hail, FRANCISCO, who canst rhyme so well
Of the once-potent autocrat of h***:
Proud Lucifer a rival King must own,
Who keeps his evil, tho’ he lose his throne!
Now comes the prose, but sure, the change is slight
When we behold YEED’S ethereal flight:
With airy grace she sails celestial deeps,
And finds the wealth that pleasing Fancy keeps.
More fancy shines as we admiring look
At Santa’s tale—Pieria’s undamm’d brook;
With tranquil tide the stream melodious flows,
And poesy beams thro’ the faultless prose.
The page now blazes with collegiate fire,
As M. PATRICIA smites the sounding lyre;
In classic halls a virtuous phantom see,
To mould the lives of heroes soon to be!
Christmas again! This time a RYAN’S quill
Describes the w. k. season of good will;
Each reader praises, as his eyes behold
A noble theme, and classic style, unroll’d.
Such are the parts—what language can we find
To sing the merits of the whole combin’d?
Superlatives in vain the critick tries
In praise of aught so witty and so wise
Old age, with friendly grandpaternal glance,
Surveys each prodigy in swift advance:
If in the youthful mind such art appears,
What heights of glory wait your riper years?


As far as Lovecraftian holiday verse goes, it’s not my favorite (that honor goes to Yule Horror.) I have no idea why “hell” is censored when he uses it freely in other work. (Call of Cthulhu comes to mind, among others.) Maybe the AHSPC was more prudish?

For those wondering: a “pippin” is a type of apple, not a 90s NBA star. I’m guessing the capitalized words are names calling out members of the AHSPC. Galpin shows up in other works as well (and was reportedly the inspiration for Old Bugs.) Lovecraft didn’t stop with this poem, he also wrote a similar one thanking the AHSPC for the May Pippin. Because of course.

All this and much much more is collected in S. T. Joshi’s The Ancient Track: The Complete Poetical Works of H. P. Lovecraft so if you’re hankering for more of Lovecraft’s weird verse, it’s a solid collection and a good place to start (and end actually, it has everything.)


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Sing us a song, you're the Lovecraft Man... sing us a song tonight!

Nemesis & Piano Man

Last week on Twitter, Captain Video noticed that Lovecraft’s beloved poem, Nemesis has the same meter as Billy Joel’s Piano Man. Well, it didn’t take long for the internet to respond and the result was as charming as you’d imagine. You can listen to Julian Velard’s version below or over on YouTube.

This will come as no shock, but I find this absolutely brilliant. Lucky for all of us, it wasn’t the only rendition. The blog Birth. Movies. Death. put together a post sharing several other variations, you can check it out here.

Now, all we need is someone to write a chorus. I’m no poet, and I’m a lousy songwriter, but here’s my amateur attempt.


Spin us a tale, you’re the Lovecraft man
Spin us a tale tonight
Well, we’re all in the mood for a horror story
And you’ve got us feelin’ a fright


💀 🦑 💀

H.P. Lovecraft and his pumpkin pal

H.P. Lovecraft’s Halloween Poem

When he wasn’t writing cosmic horror about indescribable beings, H.P. Lovecraft considered himself a poet. I’ve mentioned his Christmas poetry in the past, and since today is Halloween, I thought it’d be fun to take a gander at another holiday poem.

Hallowe’en in a Suburb was originally published as In A Suburb in The National Amateur in March of 1926. The poem was later renamed. I spent some time researching why the name was changed, but I couldn’t find an answer. The poem stands on its own without the Halloween association, but there is a definite fall/harvest feel with reflection on sheaves and chill winds. Perhaps it was marketing?


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.


It’s not half bad as far as creep poetry goes, and it’s certainly better than his cat-centric silly Christmas poetry. The very talented Andrew Lehman cut a record for Cadabra Records where he reads several of Lovecraft’s poems including this one. The record doesn’t appear to be available anymore, but you can listen to Hallowe’en in a Suburb and The Cats below.


Have a happy and safe Halloween everyone! Remember that today is the last day to get FREE SHIPPING on any signed paperbacks from my store. Just use the code BFCMONTH on checkout. You can see all the details in this post.


Dead Drop: Missives from the desk of K. M. AlexanderWant to stay in touch with me? Sign up for Dead Drop, my rare and elusive newsletter. Subscribers get news, previews, and notices on my books before anyone else delivered directly to their inbox. I work hard to make sure it’s not spammy and full of interesting and relevant information.  SIGN UP TODAY →

Dreamers of dreams

Dreamers of Dreams

The late Gene Wilder quoted the first two lines of Arthur O’Shaughnessy’s poem Ode in Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory. Google happened to use that line in the audio for their Year In Search 2016 video (see below and bring a tissue.) Inspired, I decided to share the full poem. It’s fitting for the ending of a tumultuous year and anticipation that always builds with the beginning of the new.


✷ Ode ✷


We are the music-makers,
And we are the dreamers of dreams,
Wandering by lone sea-breakers,
And sitting by desolate streams;
World-losers and world-forsakers,
On whom the pale moon gleams:
Yet we are the movers and shakers
Of the world for ever, it seems.

With wonderful deathless ditties
We build up the world’s great cities,
And out of a fabulous story
We fashion an empire’s glory:
One man with a dream, at pleasure,
Shall go forth and conquer a crown;
And three with a new song’s measure
Can trample an empire down.

We, in the ages lying
In the buried past of the earth,
Built Nineveh with our sighing,
And Babel itself with our mirth;
And o’erthrew them with prophesying
To the old of the new world’s worth;
For each age is a dream that is dying,
Or one that is coming to birth.


And as promised, the video…

So here we are, one year ends and another begins. Keep loving. Keep fighting. Keep dreaming. And above all keep creating. The world needs your voice.

Have a safe and happy New Year.

H.P. Lovecraft's Creepy Christmas Poem

H.P. Lovecraft’s Creepy Christmas Poem

Over the last few years, I’ve shared Lovecraft’s fondness for writing cheesy Christmas poetry. But apparently, that didn’t keep him from getting all morose and writing a darker ’80s metal poem about the holiday.

Originally published in Weird Tales December 1926 under the title Yule Horror you can also find this piece titled Festival in recent collections. I have no idea why. Conceivably it could be inspired/a companion to Lovecraft’s short story, The Festival (commonly considered to be his first work in the Cthulhu Mythos); both pieces draw from similar themes and visuals. That’d be the simplest explanation, right?

But what if that’s not it at all! Maybe there is a whole “War on Yule” conspiracy, and we didn’t even realize? What if cosmic horror figureheads and weird fiction publishers are in on the plot? What if they’re rewarded handsomely for squelching references to “Yule” by the powers of Big Christmas. I mean, who can really say? *Audible gasping.* Thusly, #YuleGate began.

Oh yeah, the poem. Let’s get back to it. If things are just a bit too cheery for you this holiday season, if verse written for Frank Belknap Long’s cat just isn’t cutting it right now, then settle in and enjoy…


❅ Yule Horror ❅


There is snow on the ground,
  And the valleys are cold,
 And a midnight profound
  Blackly squats o’er the wold;
But a light on the hilltops half-seen hints of feastings unhallow’d and old.

 There is death in the clouds,
  There is fear in the night,
 For the dead in their shrouds
  Hail the sun’s turning flight,
And chant wild in the woods as they dance round a Yule-altar fungous and white.

 To no gale of earth’s kind
  Sways the forest of oak,
 Where the sick boughs entwin’d
  By mad mistletoes choke,
For these pow’rs are the pow’rs of the dark, from the graves of the lost Druid-folk.

 And mayst thou to such deeds
  Be an abbot and priest,
 Singing cannibal greeds
  At each devil-wrought feast,
And to all the incredulous world shewing dimly the sign of the beast.