Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Letters from an Old Gent

With my new prose poem sequence, "Letters from an Old Gent," I have not try'd to write in Lovecraft's "voice," but merely to compose a string of feelings, emotions, inspir'd within my haunted mind when I think of HPL's imagined relationship with his family & friends. I was hoping the piece would be 5,000 words, but it felt complete at merely 2,300. Here are the last three "letters":

Beloved Sarah Susan:--

Let me take your lovely hand and walk with you along these quiet grounds. The Grotto is especially beautiful today, and you look charming with primroses in your hair. Yes, you do look frail, and we can walk as slowly as you desire. I do not mean to look troubled--you know that I am supremely unemotional--I wish only to give you comfort, and thus I can slow my pace and enjoy Nature as you have taught me. We can gaze into the heavens and bask in their beauty, knowing that they contain nothing else, not gods nor angels with whom, in time, we dance among the clouds. That blue sky, as you have told me, is but an illusion of light; beyond it lies darkness illimitable, with here and there some momentary globes of cosmic fire. The clouds are very white, almost as pale as your face, wherein those stars, your eyes, regard me with love and wonder.

You laugh to hear the birds sing in the trees, and warble with them in your lovely voice. But then your eyes seem troubled by some sight that you imagine, there, behind the trees. I see nothing but imagine much, for you have taught me how to sense the things that haunt the places just beyond our ken. Your hold is tighter on my hand and now your laughter is a strained and nervous sound. But know this, dearest, I will catch these fiends with my imagination and so trap them that they can never do you harm. And I'll expel them with my poet's pen and trap them onto paper. And the one sound that comes to you at night will be our laughter, sweet and safe and sane, and you will smile to know again this kiss that I bequeath upon maternal brow.


Can you smell the river where you rest? It smells of mud and stones, and sometimes, at night, it seems to sing with liquid sigh. Do you hear its lullaby, where you lie? It talks to you, I know, and tells you tales, as you told me when I was but a child. I think of you now and then, and envision you beneath the ground, through which you seep to your neighbors and knock upon their doors. What would you sell them, Papa, what are the wares of Death?

Can you smell the wind that flows from off the river? It smells of earth and sky, and sometimes, at night, it whispers of another world that one can find in dream. I meet you there, Papa, and let you lift me to your lap, which once was warm but now is as cool as naked bone. What is it that we hear within the wind? It may be Mother calling--she is near, you know, just over there, where she followed you and frolics off the walls.

I have my newest tale. I'll read to you as you once read to me. I was thinking of you, Papa, when I wrote it, and of the place where you rest, in darkness but not in silence. Death is unquiet, disturbed by things that crawl and scratch and gnaw. I'll read to you, Papa, with my lips pressed onto the ground so that my hot voice sinks into cold sod and finds your ears. You have no ears? They have deliquesced? Then listen to me with your bones, that ivory pith folded or outspread. I'll sing it to the earth, my art, and add it to the noise in the dirt, the ground beneath which we will sink in time, your family, and be with you again, and whisper secrets of the world we knew.

Sunand, dear fellow:--

It's interesting, isn't it, how I can infiltrate one's life? I am like one dead yet dreaming. You heard my call when very young, and I molded your mind with the power of my literary potency. As it was done unto me, I do unto others. I pulse within one's blood, through every vein. I infiltrate the eyes, which see the world anew, through my ideas. I shape the soul with spectral hands, and kiss with an influence you would never otherwise have known. I race with young minds as they devour my Cthulhu, my Innsmouth, my Fungi. I educate through the magick of my correspondence, and urge you to seek wisdom and knowledge of your own. You are mine as we walk, together, along the lanes of Providence, down Benefit Street and to the burying ground I still haunt with Poe. I am there as you stand before 10 Barnes Street, as you chant the titles that I penned there, that rich litany of Work. I dance the dance of ghosts as you slave over my stories so as to purify them as much as possible, so that they are printed as written, down to the very last semicolon and comma, as I instructed Baird. I know that you praise my correspondence for its "importance"--but know that it is my fiction that I cherish above all else. It is there that you will find me, utterly. Know, too, that I will never melt away from your mind, but like some eternal revenant I will dwell within you ever and evermore. I have attached myself, to you and many others, and there will be no letting go; for I am Eternal, and my depths can never be completely plumbed. I am as deep as Time, and the Cosmos.

Yr obt Servt,


  1. I am looking forward to read more of these "letters" !!!

  2. I thought it was completed, but then I realised I've not written letters to Bobby Barlow or Sam Loveman -- & I must! So, I will add additional epistiles to it in time. Hopefully by the time I'm done it will have reached 5,000 as I hoped it wou'd.

  3. Letter VII touched me greatly.