“The Pearl of Toledo” by Prosper Mérimée

A Frenchman telling a tale of Moors and Spaniards.
-The Voice before the Void

“The Pearl of Toledo”

Prosper Mérimée

translated from the French

“Oklahoma” by Ernest Hemingway

An early poem.

“Oklahoma”

Ernest Hemingway

All of the Indians are dead
(A good Indian is a dead Indian)
Or riding in motor cars—
(the oil lands, you know, they’re all rich)
Smoke smarts my eyes,
Cottonwood twigs and buffalo dung
Smoke grey in the teepee—
(Or is it myopic trachoma)

The prairies are long,
The moon rises, Continue reading

“The Star-Treader” by Clark Ashton Smith

Categorically weird poetry.
-The Voice before the Void

“The Star-Treader”

Clark Ashton Smith

I

A voice cried to me in a dawn of dreams,
Saying, “Make haste: the webs of death and birth
Are brushed away, and all the threads of earth
Wear to the breaking; spaceward gleams Continue reading

“The Next War” by Wilfred Owen

Armistice Day:
A rebuke.

“The Next War”

Wilfred Owen

“War’s a joke for me and you,
While we know such dreams are true.”
Siegfried Sassoon

Out there, we’ve walked quite friendly up to Death,-
Sat down and eaten with him, cool and bland,-
Pardoned his spilling mess-tins in our hand.
We’ve sniffed the green thick odour of his breath,-
Our eyes wept, but our courage didn’t writhe.
He’s spat at us with bullets and he’s coughed
Shrapnel. We chorussed when he sang aloft,
We whistled while he shaved us with his scythe.

Oh, Death was never enemy of ours!
We laughed at him, we leagued with him, old chum.
No soldier’s paid to kick against His powers.
We laughed, -knowing that better men would come,
And greater wars: when each proud fighter brags
He wars on Death, for lives; not men, for flags.

Midnight Halloween reading of “The Call of Cthulhu” by H.P. Lovecraft

“The Call of Cthulhu”

H.P. Lovecraft

“Nightmare” by Clark Ashton Smith

Happy Halloween!

“Nightmare”

Clark Ashton Smith

As though a thousand vampires, from the day
Fleeing unseen, oppressed that nightly deep,
The straitening and darkened skies of sleep
Closed on the dreamland dale in which I lay.

Eternal tensions numbed the wings of time
While through unending narrow ways I sought
Awakening; up precipitous gloom I thought
To reach the dawn, far-pinnacled sublime.

Rejected at the closen gates of light
I turned, and down new dreams and shadows fled,
Where beetling shapes of veiled, colossal dread
With Gothic wings enormous arched the night.

“The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar” from Wikipedia

Halloween:
The interesting story of Poe’s excellent story.
-The Voice before the Void

“The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar”

Wikipedia

“The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar” is a short story by American author Edgar Allan Poe about a mesmerist who puts a man in a suspended hypnotic state at the moment of death. An example of a tale of suspense and horror, it is also, to a certain degree, a hoax, as it was published without claiming to be fictional, and many at the time of publication (1845) took it to be a factual account. Poe toyed with this for a while before admitting it was a work of pure fiction in his marginalia. Continue reading

“The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar” by Edgar Allan Poe

Halloween:
A classic, celebrated, unusual horror story.
-The Voice before the Void

“The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar”

Edgar Allan Poe

Of course I shall not pretend to consider it any matter for wonder, that the extraordinary case of M. Valdemar has excited discussion. It would have been a miracle had it not — especially under the circumstances. Through the desire of all parties concerned, to keep the affair from the public, at least for the present, or until we had farther opportunities for investigation — through our endeavors to effect this — a garbled or exaggerated account made its way into society, and became the source of many unpleasant misrepresentations; and, very naturally, of a great deal of disbelief.

It is now rendered necessary that I give the facts — as far as I comprehend them myself. They are, succinctly, these:

My attention, for the last three years, had been repeatedly drawn to the subject of Mesmerism; and, about nine months ago, it occurred to me, quite suddenly, that in the series of experiments made hitherto, there had been a very remarkable and most unaccountable omission: — no person had as yet been mesmerized in articulo mortis. Continue reading

“Looking into the Can” by The Voice before the Void

one of ten winning entries to the 4th Lovecraftian Micro Fiction Contest for the 2017 H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival and CthulhuCon in Portland, Oregon

“Looking into the Can”

The Voice before the Void

Carter had the Ford in fourth gear, and after sliding through another curve, we powered up a rise; as we crested it, the wheels left the ground.

We landed hard; Carter did not let up on the gas.

“Are you sure they’re after us?” I asked.

“Oh yeah,” Carter replied. Continue reading

“In a Canoe” by Windham Wyndham-Quin

Autumn. Adventure.
-The Voice before the Void

“In a Canoe”

from The Great Divide

Windham Wyndham-Quin, 4th Earl of Dunraven and Mount-Earl

Among all the modes of progression hitherto invented by restless man, there is not one that can compare in respect of comfort and luxury with travelling in a birch-bark canoe. Continue reading

“Horror Story Creative Writing Assignment” by Lanore, with Discussion

Halloween:
Cough. Ahem. Cough, cough.
-The Voice before the Void

“Horror Story Creative Writing Assignment”

Lanore

Text © copyright 2016 by Lanore. Phonorecord ℗ copyright 2017 by Lanore and The Voice before the Void. All rights reserved.

“First Fig” by Edna St. Vincent Millay

“First Fig”

Edna St. Vincent Millay

My candle burns at both ends;
It will not last the night;
But ah, my foes, and oh, my friends—
It gives a lovely light!

“The Plant-Thing” by R.G. Macready

Halloween:
Some juicy pulp fiction horror.
-The Voice before the Void

“The Plant-Thing”

R.G. Macready

“Despair” by H.P. Lovecraft

H.P. Lovecraft’s Birthday:
Herald now the autumnal season of death, darkness, and Halloween.
-The Voice before the Void

“Despair”

H.P. Lovecraft

O’er the midnight moorlands crying,
Thro’ the cypress forests sighing,
In the night-wind madly flying,
Hellish forms with streaming hair; Continue reading

“Pag Triangle” from Wikipedia

Pag Triangle Croatia space alien art sign island tourist site UFO landing rocks strange odd bizarre Fortean mystery Paški trokut

Mysteries are interesting.
Also, aliens.
-The Voice before the Void

“Pag Triangle”

Wikipedia

Pag Triangle (Croatian: Paški trokut) is a land formation in the shape of an isosceles triangle located near Novalja, a small town on the Croatian island Pag. The triangle has one side measuring approximately 32 metres (105 ft) and two sides both measuring 22 metres (72 ft). It differs from the surrounding area in the fact that the rocks inside the triangle are of different structure than rocks outside the triangle. Croatian ufologist Stjepan Zvonarić believes it was the site of a UFO landing which heated the rocks to extreme temperatures in the past. This property is unique to the Pag Triangle rocks, and is not found in rocks in the surrounding area.

Since its discovery in 1999, Continue reading

“Under the Lion’s Paw” by Hamlin Garland, with Discussion

“That’s really good, and it’s really sad.”

“Under the Lion’s Paw”

Hamlin Garland

“Along the main-travelled road trailed an endless line of prairie schooners. Coming into sight at the east, and passing out of sight over the swell to the west. We children used to wonder where they were going and why they went.”

It was the last of autumn and first day of winter coming together. All day long the ploughmen on their prairie farms had moved to and fro in their wide level fields through the falling snow, which melted as it fell, wetting them to the skin all day, notwithstanding the frequent squalls of snow, the dripping, desolate clouds, and the muck of the furrows, black and tenacious as tar. Continue reading

“The Tail” from Moby-Dick by Herman Melville

The following chapter.
Also, August 1st is the anniversary of Melville’s birth.
-The Voice before the Void

“The Tail”

from Moby-Dick; or, The Whale

Herman Melville

Other poets have warbled the praises of the soft eye of the antelope, and the lovely plumage of the bird that never alights; less celestial, I celebrate a tail. Continue reading

“The Fountain” from Moby-Dick by Herman Melville

She wanted to hear me read from Moby-Dick, so I opened the book to a random chapter.
-The Voice before the Void

“The Fountain”

from Moby-Dick; or, The Whale

Herman Melville

That for six thousand years–and no one knows how many millions of ages before–the great whales should have been spouting all over the sea, and sprinkling and mistifying the gardens of the deep, as with so many sprinkling or mistifying pots; and that for some centuries back, thousands of hunters should have been close by the fountain of the whale, watching these sprinklings and spoutings–that all this should be, and yet, Continue reading

There is Life Before Reading Moby-Dick, and There is Life After Reading Moby-Dick

Life is paradox.
-The Voice before the Void

There is Life Before Reading Moby-Dick, and There is Life After Reading Moby-Dick

Works mentioned:
Report to Greco by Nikos Kazantzakis
Moby-Dick; or, The Whale by Herman Melville
Education of a Wandering Man by Louis L’Amour
“The Fiddler” by Herman Melville
50 Great American Short Stories edited by Milton Crane
“I and My Chimney” by Herman Melville
Great Short Works of Herman Melville edited by Warner Berthoff
The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes
War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy
“Arma Virumque” by Ambrose Bierce
The Sermon on the Mount by Jesus
The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark by William Shakespeare
The Tragedy of Macbeth by William Shakespeare
In the Heart of the Sea: The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex by Nathaniel Philbrick
The Sea-Wolf by Jack London
The Waste Land by T.S. Eliot

Other authors mentioned:
Homer
Mark Twain
Robert Benchley
Patrick F. McManus
Nathaniel Hawthorne
Edgar Allan Poe
H.P. Lovecraft

“Voynich manuscript” from Wikipedia

Genuine mysteries are so very rare, but here is an artifact of an unknown language, an unknown botany, an unknown madness, an unknown world.
-The Voice before the Void

“Voynich manuscript”

Wikipedia

The Voynich manuscript is an illustrated codex hand-written in an unknown writing system. The vellum on which it is written has been carbon-dated to the early 15th century (1404–1438), and it may have been composed in Northern Italy during the Italian Renaissance. The manuscript is named after Wilfrid Voynich, a Polish book dealer who purchased it in 1912.

Voynich manuscript undeciphered untranslated unknown language mystery tome grimoire rare medieval codex book Beinecke Library Yale University page 181 folio 102 recto weird plantsSome of the pages are missing, with around 240 still remaining. The text is written from left to right, and most of the pages have illustrations or diagrams. Some pages are foldable sheets.

The Voynich manuscript has been studied by many professional and amateur cryptographers, including American and British codebreakers from both World War I and World War II. No one has yet succeeded in deciphering the text, and it has become a famous case in the history of cryptography. The mystery of the meaning and origin of the manuscript has excited the popular imagination, making the manuscript the subject of novels and speculation. None of the many hypotheses proposed over the last hundred years has yet been independently verified. Continue reading

“A Guest” by Ambrose Bierce

Ambrose Bierce’s Birthday:
Bierce regards Death with fine, sarcastic, suppurating contempt.
-The Voice before the Void

“A Guest”

Ambrose Bierce

Death, are you well? I trust you have no cough
That’s painful or in any way annoying—
No kidney trouble that may carry you off,
Or heart disease to keep you from enjoying
Your meals—and ours. ‘T were very sad indeed
To have to quit the busy life you lead. Continue reading

“The Man Who Went Too Far” by E.F. Benson

Summer Vacation:
A monster story and a philosophical story about summertime, communion with the natural world, spiritual youth, the inescapable horror of death, and the inescapable horror of life.
-The Voice before the Void

“The Man Who Went Too Far”

E.F. Benson

The little village of St. Faith’s nestles in a hollow of wooded till up on the north bank of the river Fawn in the country of Hampshire, huddling close round its grey Norman church as if for spiritual protection against the fays and fairies, the trolls and “little people,” who might be supposed still to linger in the vast empty spaces of the New Forest, and to come after dusk and do their doubtful businesses. Once outside the hamlet you may walk in any direction (so long as you avoid the high road which leads to Brockenhurst) for the length of a summer afternoon without seeing sign of human habitation, or possibly even catching sight of another human being. Continue reading

“The Death of the Ball Turret Gunner” from Wikipedia

D-Day Anniversary and U.S. Memorial Day:
Little compares to encountering this poem for the first time,
the most famous U.S. poem of the Second World War,
unassuming, and unforgettable.
-The Voice before the Void

“The Death of the Ball Turret Gunner”

Wikipedia

“The Death of the Ball Turret Gunner” is a five-line poem by Randall Jarrell published in 1945. It is about the death of a gunner in a Sperry ball turret on a World War II American bomber aircraft.

From my mother’s sleep I fell into the State, Continue reading

“My Castles in Spain” by George William Curtis

This says everything that ever needed to be said.
-The Voice before the Void

“My Castles in Spain”

from Prue and I

George William Curtis

adapted by anonymous for The Ontario Readers: Fourth Book

I am the owner of great estates. Many of them lie in the west, but the greater part in Spain.

You may see my western possessions any evening at sunset when their spires and battlements flash against the horizon. But my finest castles are in Spain. It is a country famously romantic, and my castles are all of perfect proportions and appropriately set in the most picturesque situations.

I have never been in Spain myself, but I have naturally conversed much with travellers to that country; although, I must allow, without deriving from them much substantial information about my property there. Continue reading

“Oft, In the Stilly Night” by Thomas Moore

“Oft, In the Stilly Night”

Thomas Moore

Oft, in the stilly night,
Ere slumber’s chain has bound me,
Fond Memory brings the light
Of other days around me;
The smiles, the tears,
Of boyhood’s years,
The words of love then spoken;
The eyes that shone,
Now dimmed and gone, Continue reading