Sunday, January 16, 2011

Cimmeria by Way of the Hill Cantons

It may be the fever of the chest cold talking...

But driving through the clinging, chilly mist of the Texas Hill Country today I was reminded of that long past master of the pulp who brought the world Conan's Cimmeria through a vision of these same hills.

Written in Mission, Texas, February, 1932; suggested by the memory of the hill-country above Fredericksburg seen in a mist of winter rain.”

I remember

The dark woods, masking slopes of sombre hills;

The grey clouds' leaden everlasting arch;

The dusky streams that flowed without a sound,

And the lone winds that whispered down the passes.

Vista on vista marching, hills on hills,

Slope beyond slope, each dark with sullen trees,

Our gaunt land lay. So when a man climbed up

A rugged peak and gazed, his shaded eye

Saw but the endless vista - hill on hill,

Slope beyond slope, each hooded like its brothers.

It was a gloomy land that seemed to hold

All winds and clouds and dreams that shun the sun,

With bare boughs rattling in the lonesome winds,

And the dark woodlands brooding over all,

Not even lightened by the rare dim sun

Which made squat shadows out of men; they called it

Cimmeria, land of Darkness and deep Night.

It was so long ago and far away

I have forgot the very name men called me.

The axe and flint-tipped spear are like a dream,

And hunts and wars are shadows. I recall

Only the stillness of that sombre land;

The clouds that piled forever on the hills,

The dimness of the everlasting woods.

Cimmeria, land of Darkness and the Night.

Oh, soul of mine, born out of shadowed hills,

To clouds and winds and ghosts that shun the sun,

How many deaths shall serve to break at last

This heritage which wraps me in the grey

Apparel of ghosts? I search my heart and find

Cimmeria, land of Darkness and the Night.


  1. That poem always stirs me. REH did have a way with words. Sue and I hope you get better soon, CK.

  2. Driving through the Scottish highlands once on a (typically) rainy April day made think of that poem too. I figure it must have been pretty much what Cimmeria looked like.

  3. Very cool and I wish you a speedy recovery. I love when the walls our universe get a bit thinner, often landscapes are a gateway for this sort of thing, and likely have been throughout human existence.

  4. Thanks friends. It's funny, I who rarely gets sick seemed to spend a good chunk of last week writing "get well soon" messages to people.

    You know you are sick think poetry is fine to post to the blog.