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‘A Red Rose Blooming in the East’
Desert Dawn by Robert E. Howard
Desert Dawn is a direct, two-verse poem of but 14 lines, which this writer takes as a possible overture to an oriental adventure, written by Robert E. Howard to set his own mode for writing a desert yarn.
The first four lines invite an awakening to an alien setting, using nautical metaphor:
“Dim seas of sand swim slowly into sight,
As if from out the silence swiftly born;
Faint foremost herald of the coming morn,
Red tentacles reach out into the night…”
In writing Conan, Xavier Gordon and other characters, Howard veered from desert to nautical settings, and since I myself have had to alter a writing mood to tackle a new setting, it occurs that perhaps Howard used some of his poetry to set his own mind to the writer’s task of revealing a fresh, elemental stage for his ever-strident characters to tread under foot. An unpublished overture to one’s narrative avatar is a potent method to setting a storied tone in short order. Perhaps Desert Dawn was such an exercise in remote viewing.
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