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‘Her Winsome Child’
A Legend of Faring Town by Robert E. Howard
Unpublished until 1975, reading from Del Rey’s The Horror Stories of Robert E. Howard, 2006, page 88
Howard’s deep vision of the sea seems to be an extension of his ominous sense of the inhuman gulfs that separate Mankind from the true mind-shattering knowledge of their condition. The following poem, set once again in his imaginary point of departure into nautical darkness, on a lonely English coast backed by the windy hinterlands of Devon, where his “somber” hero Kane would stalk forth from his imaginings, we are treated to another favorite device of his, which will later be cloaked beneath larger than life heroes, but here glares bleakly: the plight of the alienated woman.
The poem is of four verses, with the first and third of 8 lines and the second and fourth of six lines each. Below is the first verse:
“Her house, a moulting buzzard on the Hill
Loomed gaunt and brooding over Faring Town;
Behind, there slopped away the barren down
And at its foot an ancient, crumbling mill.
And often in the evening bleak and still,
With withered limbs wrapped in sombre gown
And leathery face set in somber frown,
She sat in silence on her silent sill.”
Books by James LaFond
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