Monday, June 26, 2017

HP Lovecraft's "Memory"

Standard Introduction
            I am a fan HP Lovecraft.  Not his god-awful racism of course, but the fact that he wrote in such a stilted un marketable way.  I think it was Neil Gaiman (Though I can’t find the interview) that described HP’s work as "a churning morass of adjectives".  But the ideas in the stories, the mysterious and weird parts that lend themselves so well too modern horror are often great.
            The idea of humanity not being important at all, that the universe is chaotic and hostile, and that even knowing about these things leave the protagonists of the stories insane from the knowledge, those are all cool.
            What is also cool is that all of HP Lovecraft’s writings are public domain.  They can be re-printed, referenced, and even re-written by those (like me) who are fans of the ideas but want to make the writing cleaner, or tighter, or just less racist.  (Seriously, why did you name the cat that Howie?  Did you think it was funny?)

Today’s Entry
            I figured I would take one of his more accessible stories and rewrite it a bit as an experiment.  “Memory” is a post-apocalyptic fiction about a pair of monsters dwelling in a ruin.  I imagine had Lovecraft taken more time with it and put it to verse it could have made an excellent poem, I too did not spend that much time on it.  I did take the time to clean it up a lot, reordering the sentences to a more modern flow.  I hope you enjoy it.
            If you want to do this yourself, here is a link to HP Lovecraft’s complete works, or at least the horror ones.  I believe he wrote some romance stories too and I have no idea where to find those.
            Anyway, here is the story. 

            In the valley of Nis, the waning moon shines thinly.  The accursed light tearing with feeble horns thru the lethal foliage of a great golden tree. Deeper within the valley, where that light reaches not, shift and lurk forms unseen and those best left un beheld.

            Stinking and vile is the herbage on each slope.  Where thorny vines and creeping poisoned leaves crawl amidst the stones of ruined palaces, twisting tightly about broken columns and strange monoliths, and heaving up marble pavements laid by forgotten hands.
            In trees that grow gigantic in crumbling courtyards leap little apes, while in and out of deep treasure-vaults writhe serpents and scaly things without names, venom dripping from lipless fanged mouths.

            Stones sleep beneath coverlets of dank moss, vast and mighty were the walls from which they fell.  For all time did their builders erect them, for futures so distant as to exist beyond imagining, and in sooth they still serve nobly.  Beneath them the grey toad makes his habitation.

            At the deepest bottom of the valley lies the river Than, whose waters are weed choked and nearly all slime.  From hidden springs this river rises and to subterranean grottoes it flows.  The Demon of the Valley knows not why its waters are red, nor whither they are bound.

            The Genie that haunts the moonbeams coxed the Demon of the Valley to converse, saying, "I am old, and forget much.  Tell me the deeds, the character, and the names of them who built these things of Stone."
            "I am Memory,” the Demon replied.  “I am wise in lore of the past, but I too am old. These beings were like the waters of the river Than.  Not to be understood.  Their deeds I recall not, for they were but of the moment.  Their aspect I recall dimly, it was like to that of the little apes in the trees.  Their name I recall clearly, for it rhymed with that of the river.  These beings of yesterday were called Man."
            With that reply the Genie flew back to the thin horned moon, and the Demon looked intently at a little ape mulling about in a tree that grew in a crumbling courtyard.

            If you like or hate this please take the time to comment, +1, share on Twitter (click that link to follow me), Tumblr, or Facebook, and otherwise distribute my opinion to the world.  I would appreciate it.

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