Tag Archives: poetry

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.


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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.

H. P. Lover-of-Christmas

More of H.P. Lovecraft’s Silly Christmas Poems

A lot of people don’t realize Lovecraft had a sentimental side. As I shared last year, it seems around Christmas he would often spend time writing some pretty sappy poetry. Well, thanks to the wonderful resource of the H.P. Lovecraft Archive this year I get to share a few more of his silly little Christmas poetry with you. In these Christmas Greetings, Lovecraft writes a few short poems for his friends and their cats.


Christmas Greetings To Eugene B. Kuntz et al.

May good St. Nick, like as a bird of night,
Bring thee rich blessings in his annual flight;
Long by thy chimney rest his pond’rous pack,
And leave with lessen’d weight upon his back!


Christmas Greetings to Laurie A. Sawyer

As Christmas snows (as yet a poet’s trope)
Call back one’s bygone days of youth and hope,
Four metrick lines I send—they’re quite enough
Tho’ once I fancy’d I could write the stuff!


Christmas Greetings to Sonia H. Greene

Once more the ancient feast returns,
And the bright hearth domestic burns
With Yuletide’s added blaze;
So, too, may all your joys increase
Midst floods of mem’ry, love, and peace,
And dreams of Halcyon days.


Christmas Greetings to Rheinhart Kleiner

St. John, whose art sublimely shines
In liquid odes and melting lines,
Let Theobald his regard express
In verse of lesser loveliness.
As now in regal state appear
The festive hours of Yuletide cheer,
My strongest wish is that you may
Feel ev’ry blessing of the day!


Christmas Greetings to Felis (Frank Belknap Long’s cat)

Little Tiger, burning bright
With a subtle Blakeish light,
Tell what visions have their home
In those eyes of flame and chrome!
Children vex thee—thoughtless, gay—
Holding when thou wouldst away:
What dark lore is that which thou,
Spitting, mixest with thy meow?


Christmas Greetings to Annie E. P. Gamwell

As when a pigeon, loos’d in realms remote,
Takes instant wing, and seeks his native cote,
So speed my blessings from a barb’rous clime
To thee and Providence at Christmas time!


Christmas Greetings to Felis (Frank Belknap Long’s cat) #2

Haughty Sphinx, whose amber eyes
Hold the secrets of the skies,
As thou ripplest in thy grace,
Round the chairs and chimney-place,
Scorn on thy patrician face:
Hiss not harsh, nor use thy claws
On the hand that gives applause—
Good-will only doth abide
In these lines at Christmastide!


Man, Lovecraft had a soft spot for Frank Belknap Long’s cat. Felis better have appreciated both those little poems. But, like most cats, I’m sure he was probably indifferent and a little smug.

I hope you enjoyed reading these silly little poems as much as I did. It’s always enjoyable looking into a different side of a writer like Lovecraft. So much of his work is mired in his xenophobic fears it’s always interesting to see something that is the complete opposite of his more known work. It shows the complexity inherent in a person.

[!] UPDATE: My rad little sister sent me a picture of Lovecraft holding his buddy Felis. I figured since we just read two poems for him, it’d be great to see a pic as well. So here they are broin’ down:

H. P. Lovecraft and Felis

It's an unrelated creepy santa

H. P. Lovecraft’s Silly Christmas Poem

Did you know the granddaddy of cosmic horror wrote a super cheesy Christmas poem? Well, he did! Entitled Christmas, this little poem was first published in the The Tryout magazine in November 1920. It reminds me of something you’d read inside a card, or to quote my friend Kevin, “That poem sounds like where Thomas Kinkade got all his inspiration.” He’s not wrong:

The cottage hearth beams warm and bright,

The candles gaily glow;

The stars emit a kinder light

Above the drifted snow.

Down from the sky a magic steals

To glad the passing year,

And belfries sing with joyous peals,

For Christmastide is here!

So there you go, an H.P. Lovecraft’s Christmas poem. It’s kind of… er… upbeat for him don’t you think? Big thanks to The H.P. Lovecraft Archive for the publication history. They are a great resource and I highly recommend them. I have no idea where the creepy santa photo came from, clearly someplace darker than Lovecraft’s poem.