Happy Birthday, Robert E. Howard!

Robert E. Howard 1906 - 1936

Robert E. Howard
1906 – 1936

Dungeons and Dragons fans can thank Robert E. Howard for originating the Sword and Sorcery Genre. This Texas pulp writer was also the creator of Conan the Barbarian. Howard had a boundless imagination, astonishing versatility, and was a consummate storyteller. During his brief, but prolific career, he wrote horror stories, adventures, scifi, detective tales, humorous knockabout westerns, and more.

In contrast to his swashbuckling characters, Howard was a quiet, bookish man who lived with his parents and enjoyed penning poetry. His complex personality, and the controversial views he expressed have since become a subject of conjecture.

On June 11, 1936, he took his own life, after learning his chronically ill mother had slipped into a permanent coma.

He was only thirty years old.

Here are a three of his many marvelously crafted poems.

The Weakling

I died in sin and forthwith went to Hell;
I made myself at home upon the coals
Where seas of flame break on the cinder shoals.
Till Satan came and said with angry yell,
“You there – divulge what route by which you fell.”
“I spent my youth among the flowing bowls,
“Wasted my life with women of dark souls,
“Died brothel-fighting – drunk on muscatel.”

Said he, “My friend, you’ve been directed wrong:
“You’ve naught to recommend you for our feasts –
“Like factory owners, brokers, elders, priests;
“The air for you! This place is for the strong!
“Then as I pondered, minded to rebel,
He laughed and forthwith kicked me out of Hell.

— Robert E. Howard


The Vision

I cannot believe in a paradise
Glorious, undefiled,
For gates all scrolled and streets of gold
Are tales for a dreaming child.

I am too lost for shame
That it moves me unto mirth,
But I can vision a Hell of flame
For I have lived on Earth.

— Robert E. Howard


Fables For Little Folk

He was six foot four and wide as a door
And he weighed two hundred pounds
And he laughed as he spoke, “I’ll cool that bloke.
I’ll flatten him in two rounds.”
Ah, the crowd they cheered, but the crowd they jeered
When his foeman stepped in the ring;
They hissed and jowled and the giant scowled
And rushed with a round-house swing.
Yes, he came full tilt but the beans were spilt
For the smaller man timed him fair
And knocked him out with a left hand clout
And the crowd gave him the air.
So the moral is this: make your foeman miss
And never lead with your right,
But the first that you’re to do is be sure
That it’s not Jack Dempsey you fight.

— Robert E. Howard




One response

  1. […] a topic of their choosing–some editors like having a topic (i.e. “music,” “poetry,” “comics,” etc.) and some prefer winging it on whatever subject seems topical to […]

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