REH Word of the Week: silian Essay


1. slimy reptiles that inhabit the Sea of Korus

[origin: creatures created by author, Edgar Rice Burroughs. Silians exist on Barsoom, which is the fictional name representing the dying planet, Mars]

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The Master beat on his Master-drum,
(Wild, roaring wild, like an unrefined sea!)
Back through the fogs flew the whispering thrum,
(Hide-covered log on a lone white lea,
Ape-man pounding on a sounding tree.)
Primal seas with their silian scum,
Planetary chaos with the cosmic hum,
Whispered down the ages on the Master-Drum!
Midnight skies and a flying ghost-fire,
Crone-faced witches, wild against the moon,
Dark, silent city, Devil-crowning spire,
Witch-fire flitting o’er the sullen mire,
And the devil-devil secrets of the isle-wind’s rune.
Ghost fire flitting through the flying wrack,
Flame-rid dreams of a maniac.
Hiss of a serpent, laughter of a loon.
And the tales of the Past on the night-wind’s croon.
Tales of the Past, a-whirl and a-thrum,
Whispered down the ages with the Master-drum.

[from “The Master-Drum”; to read the complete poem, see The Collected Poetry of Robert E. Howard, p. 489; Robert E. Howard Selected Poems, p. 198; and Night Images, p. 72]