Wednesday, May 07, 2014

Found Poem

Recently there has been a small revival of the odd early twentieth century writer Robert Chambers, especially his "King in Yellow" a sort of pre- Lovecraft, atmospheric, semi- horror tale with a fin- de- siecle air about it-- think old Howard crossed with Beardsley or Wilde, though not as good.

I saw  a battered  copy of his 1904 In Search of the Unknown, supposedly about its narrator's search for and discovery of extinct or legendary beasts,  and picked it up, hoping for a cryptozoological version of Lovecraft. Besides, it had a cool cover:

 It was appallingly bad; overwritten, hysterical, without the vaguest notion of storytelling, animals real or imaginary, or far places. But in the front was a short poem, rather in the school of Kipling, that was worth the few pennies-- not great literature, and I am not sure I agree with its last line, but-- well, see for yourself:

Sounds like an idyllic childhood to me-- sounds like my childhood, or Ed Wilson's. Nor do I really buy the "murder to dissect" school"--  but then, I bet Chambers didn't as a kid...


Peculiar said...

"Chloroforming butterflies" was clearly destined to be a line of poetry from before the dawn of time. I'm only displeased that someone else found it before I did.

Anonymous said...

Takes me back to those summer days, long ago when no Girl Scout or Jr Conservationist worth her salt was without a straight pin mounted collection of butterflies, and the occasional fruit jar of pond water with tad poles swimming oblivious to their fate. I wonder how many tad poles survive to become frogs?