Karavansara

East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai

Robert E. Howard at 113

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Two-Guns Bob is being celebrated by the knuckleheads in this 113th birthday of his – they talk of blood-dripping blades and big-boobed wenches, of colorful curses, sex and violence, and simple-mindedly describe him as a purveyor of simple-minded trash, because that’s what they are all about.
That’s the new narrative hereabouts, and they say you can’t fight them, because they are many, and now they own the field, their trash is the new truth, because they can repeat it long enough.
I say screw them.
So here’s a poem by Robert E. Howard, born on this day in 1906, a fine writer and an intelligent man, that sometimes wrote rubbish, but even then, with flair.
Because here in Karavansara we remember, and care.

Dreams of Nineveh

Silver bridge in a broken sky,
   Golden fruit on a withered bough,
Red-lipped slaves that the ancients buy—
   What are the dreams of Nineveh now?

Ghostly hoofs in the brooding night
   Beat the bowl of the velvet stars.
Shadows of spears when the moon is white
   Cross the sands with ebony bars.

But not the shadows that brood her fall
   May check the sweep of the desert fire,
Nor a dead man lift up a crumbling wall,
   Nor a spectre steady a falling spire.

Death fires rise in the desert sky
   Where the armies of Sargon reeled;
And though her people still sell and buy,
   Nineveh’s doom is set and sealed.

Silver mast with a silken sail,
   Sapphire seas ‘neath a purple prow,
Hawk-eyed tribes on the desert trail—
   What are the dreams of Nineveh now?

In case you’re interested, the poems of Robert E. Howard can be found here, courtesy of WikiSource.

Author: Davide Mana

Paleontologist. By day, researcher, teacher and ecological statistics guru. By night, pulp fantasy author-publisher, translator and blogger. In the spare time, Orientalist Anonymous, guerilla cook.

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