Past the Starry Voids

The day had come again, when as a child
I saw—just once—that hollow of old oaks,
Grey with a ground-mist that enfolds and chokes
The slinking shapes which madness has defiled.
It was the same—a herbage rank and wild
Clings round an altar whose carved sign invokes
That Nameless One to whom a thousand smokes
Rose, aeons gone, from unclean towers up-piled.

I saw the body spread on that dank stone,
And knew those things which feasted were not men;
I knew this strange, grey world was not my own,
But Yuggoth, past the starry voids—and then
The body shrieked at me with a dead cry,
And all too late I knew that it was I!


DESCRIPTION: In his poem “Recognition,” Lovecraft describes his speaker’s sense of horror when, in a dreamlike state, he sees himself sacrificed and consumed by ghouls.

CITATION: Lovecraft, H. P. “Recognition.” The Ancient Track: The Complete Poetical Works of H. P. Lovecraft. Edited by S. T. Joshi, Hippocampus Press, 2013, p. 82.

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The White Elephant

Dim in the past from primal chaos rose
That form with mottled cloak and scaly hose
Who bade the lesser ghouls to earn their bread,
Perform dread rites, and echo what he said.
They bred the leprous tree and poison flower
And pressed dim aeons into one black hour.
Wherefore we pray, as pious pagans must,
To the white beast he shaped from fungous dust.


DESCRIPTION: In his poem “The White Elephant,” Lovecraft describes a mysterious, god-like being, who crafts an idol, a white elephant made out of “fungous dust,” for his followers to worship.

CITATION: Lovecraft, H. P. “The White Elephant.” The Ancient Track: The Complete Poetical Works of H. P. Lovecraft. Edited by S. T. Joshi, Hippocampus Press, 2013, p. 95.