Monthly Archives: April 2014

“Bring Out Your Dead”–a poem


The more I read Hodgson’s poetry, I more I am impressed.  Here we have a man with no formal training in writing or poetry and yet he produced amazingly creative stories and poems.  One has to wonder where this streak of creativity came from as it was certainly not echoed by anyone in his family.  WHH biographer, Sam Moskowitz, stated in an introduction to one of his collections of Hodgson’s stories that WHH’s sister, Lissie, didn’t understand her brother’s work.  Thankfully, his literary reputation did not depend upon her!

This last poem for the National Poetry Month comes from one of the early books of WHH’s poetry that were financed by his widow.  It is a touching and poignant poem particularly when we consider that WHH died a few years before it’s first publication.

Much of WHH’s poetry is unavailable to the interested reader.  We are taking steps to rectify that and hope to be able to make a big announcement about that soon.  In the meantime, enjoy this taste.

 

Bring Out Your Dead

 

Hark to the Trumpets’ voices calling, calling,

With solemn notes and dread,

Over the world with tones appalling:–

Bring out your Dead! Bring out your Dead!

 

O Men, who have bartered your souls for gold,

And smiled contempt when the bread was doled,

How shall you feel when the trump is rolled:–

Bring out your Dead! Bring out your Dead!

 

Who sold provisions adulterate,

And fattened whilst babies could not grow

On food that was little but colour and show,

What shall you say when through the Gate

The Trumpets roar their eternal hate:–

Bring out your Dead! Bring out your Dead!

 

And the Victor who slew his fellows for fame,

Or gain of gold, how bitter his shame

When the menacing Trumpets thunder his name:–

Bring out your Dead! Bring out your Dead!

 

And they who dealt Justice, with hearts never stirred

To the glory of Mercy, shall mercy be heard

When the grim Brazen Voices thunder each word:–

Bring out your Dead! Bring out your Dead!

 

And the wife who spoke not the winsome word–

And the husband selfish who should have cared–

And the Parent indiff’rent how children fared–

Bring out your Dead! Bring out your Dead!

 

And the man who never did harm to any,

Nor took from another so much as a penny,

What of the souls who died for the lack

Of your help to ease Life’s torturous rack?

Bring out your Dead! Bring out your Dead!

 

And the men who for money were swift to sell

Aught that might drag weak souls to hell,

What shall they do when the Trumpets knell:–

Bring out your Dead! Bring out your Dead!

 

And the roues shall cringe when the Trumpets’ call

Shall sunder their tainted skies, and fall

Upon their ears, as bitter as gall:–

Bring out your Dead! Bring out your Dead!

 

But the very devils shall shudder and cower

When the world’s Religions shall feel the power,

And obeying the Trumpets in that grim hour,

Bring out their Dead! Bring out their Dead!

 

And I, am I guiltless? What shall I cry

When the Trumpets thunder across the sky

To know what soul I have caused to die;

Ah, then, O People, then must I

Bring out my Dead! Bring out my Dead!

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Contemporary Reviews of WHH


We are still finding examples of contemporary reviews of Hodgson’s work.  Many of WHH’s books were widely reviewed and it is likely that we will continue to find new examples of this for some time.  Thanks to our intrepid researcher, Phillip A. Ellis, we now have two more reviews to add to the list.  Phillip contacted me regarding these items and has graciously allowed us to reprint them here with some of his comments.

Phillip states that…

“The first item comes from Robert Barr, from a column, “The Idler’s Club”, in The Idler; this particular item has the subtitle “Ghosts, and that Sort of Thing”. Barr (321-322) discusses The Ghost Pirates in the last section of this column, under the further subheading “A Creepy Ghost Book”; it goes:

“I happened the other day upon a recently-published book which seems to have gained certain favourable notices. It is written by William Hope Hodgson, and issued by Stanley Paul and Co. My attention was drawn to the book because it possesses a frontispiece by that greatest of the world’s weird artists, Sidney H. Sime. I know of no other artist so capable of illustrating a creepy ghost story as Sime, and if this book should ever become “popular,” I hope the publisher will be enterprising enough to issue an edition de luxe with pictures galore by Sime. Such a volume would be a unique possession.

“The Ghost Pirates” is its title, and I see by the preface that this book is the last of three, all of which, I take it, deal with the supernatural. I must confess that I have not yet seen the first two books, which are called respectively “The Boats of Glen Carrig,” and “The House on the Borderland.” I intend to read these two, and then, perhaps, I shall be sufficiently equipped to express an opinion upon the last one, for although I have read it from beginning to end, I admit I don’t know what to say about it.

“It is a rather ignorant sailor who tells the story, so the somewhat commonplace diction with which it begins should not be held against the author. This sailor joins a ship at San Francisco and sails away. Gradually you gain the impression that there is something indefinably wrong with the ship; tantalising shadows flit about, and one is exasperated that nothing tangible happens. I began to come to the conclusion that this was a most commonplace book; the sailors appeared to be an uninteresting lot; also it seems unnecessarily profane here and there, but I am told that sailors at sea are not very choice with their language.

“By-and-bye, however, I was compelled to admit that the characters were pretty well differentiated; the second mate particularly began to stand out, although his name was never mentioned, so far as I can remember.

 “Trouble begins after a fortnight out, and it happens during the watch between eight and twelve at night:–

 

“It was nothing less than the form of a man stepping inboard over the starboard rail, a little abaft the main rigging. I stood up, and caught at the handrail, and stared.

 “The thing, whatever it was, had disappeared into the shadows at the lee side of the deck.”

 

“I will not attempt to tell the story, but these slimy, Sime-y things, sometimes visible to one and not to the rest, began to permeate the ship, and get into the rigging, with the result that death in various forms picked off one member after another of the crew. Just imagine a dark night, and the upper rigging of a ship cluttered with mucilaginous beings, evolved out of the fearsome inner consciousness of Sidney H. Sime: objects that editors shudder at, and dare not print, and you begin to have some idea of the state of things on board the ship that left ‘Frisco.

 “The book repelled me continually, yet I continued reading it, and at night, when I went to sleep, I experienced the worst nightmare I have had since I was a boy. These creatures of cold glue stuck to me, and I could not shake them off. I think “The Ghost Pirates” is a horrible book, and I don’t know whether to recommend it to the gentle reader or not; neither can I make up my mind whether or not it is a notable piece of work. I hope to come to a conclusion when I have read the other two volumes.

 

“The second item is part of a portmandeau review by Francis Bickley, in The Bookman. Under the title “Magic, Symbol and Philosophy”, it includes a single paragraph on The Voice of the Ocean; the relevant passage (96) reads:

 

“With Mr. Hope Hodgson we are in another world, the serious Victorian world of philosophical problems stated in verse. He reminds one of Tennyson and John Davidson. In “The Voice of the Ocean” the sea holds converse, with various souls in trouble, and has much to say on the large questions of God, life and death. The poem does not escape banality, and once or twice comes perilously near the ludicrous, but it has dignity and an intention which merits respect.”

 

These are part of a larger article from Phillip A. Ellis which will be published in the forthcoming issue of SARGASSO.

 

 

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Carnacki’s “Lost” cases


carnackipaperback2Hodgson’s Carnacki owes much to the immortal Sherlock Holmes.  I’d venture to say that if there had been no Sherlock Holmes, there would have been no Carnacki.  Often, Carnacki’s detective skills are overshadowed by the occult nature of his cases but astute readers will see that he employs many of the techniques of the ‘great detective’.  One bit of borrowed style is the off-hand mention of ‘lost’ or ‘untold’ tales.  Doyle’s stories are full of tantalizing titles like “The Giant Rat of Sumatra” so it’s no surprise that Carnacki’s tales are as well!

During the nine original stories of Carnacki by Hodgson, the following cases are mentioned:

“The Black Veil”

“The Noving Fur Case”

“The Steeple Monster Case”

“The Buzzing Case”

“The ‘Grey Dog’ Case”

“The Yellow Finger Experiments”

“The Grunting Man Case”

“The Nodding Door Case”

“The Three Straw Plates”

“The Dark Light Case”

In “The Horse of the Invisible”, Carnacki mentions a case involving a “child’s hand patting the floor” but gives no title for the incident.  Likewise, in “The Searcher of the End House”, he references a case involving a client named “Maaethson” but no further particulars.

What could these enigmatic cases be about and why are there no records of them?

Many later writers attempted to bring to life those cases that Holmes mentioned only briefly so maybe it’s time for new writers to finally tell these ‘lost’ tales?  Perhaps some already are!

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“Ballade”: a poem


Keeping with our celebration of National Poetry Month, we present another of WHH’s poems.

This striking poem was not published until the November, 1977, issue of Fantasy Crossroads, where it appeared until the alternative title, “Who Make Their Bed in Deep Waters”.  It was included in the edition of The Lost Poetry of William Hope Hodgson (2005) which was edited by Jane Frank.  It is a haunting poem which echoes Poe.

Ballade

 Who Make Their Bed In The Deep Waters

 

            We are dying,

               And the sea is very still,

           And some of the children are crying,

            And some are ill,

                     And seven are dead

                       And their mothers make their bed.
8

            We are dying,

                 Two boats just full of us,

            And the little ones are lying

              Quietly–thus and thus,

                       And twelve are dead

                       And their mothers made their bed.

8

            We are dying,

                 Another day has gone,

        And no child is crying,

                 In the gloaming wan

                       They all are dead

                       And their mothers made their bed.

8

            We are dying,

             It is just before the dawn,

            The mothers all are lying

                 Silent e’er the morn

                       Forlornly dead

                       And I made their bed.

 8

We are dying,

                 The evening’s sun is low,

            And my lover-lad is crying

                 Weak in utter woe

                       O’er me dead

                   E’er he make my bed.

 8

We are dying,

                 My lover thought me gone,

            In his two arms lying,

                 But I saw him wan

                   Nearly dead

                       And his arms my bed.

 8

We are silent now,

                 For I reached and drew

                       My lover to me, dying,

        And the glad young brow

                       Sailed against me lying

                 E’er he knew

                             Quietly dead

                             On my bosom for his bed.

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Some Odds and Ends


I regularly stroll through the internet and look for items of Hodgsonian interest.  Occasionally, I find a few things.  Here’s a couple I found today.

 

3345640-01The ComicVine website records a previously unknown to me appearance by Hodgson in a comic called CTHULHU #1 which was released in 2010.  I do not have a copy of this comic but the listing states that the story, “The Cursed Island” is by WHH.  This may be an adaptation of “Voice in the Night” but, if anyone could supply more information, it would be appreciated.

You can read the listing here: http://www.comicvine.com/cthulhu-1-vol-1/4000-427796/

Back on June 30, 2010, the UK newspaper The Guardian published a nice little article about Carnacki.  Showing once again that WHH’s occult detective continues to hold reader’s attentions.  The article is quite good but I’m sure that Tim Prasil would debate the often reiterated claim that LeFanu’s Dr. Martin Hesselius was the first occult detective!  You can read the article here: http://www.theguardian.com/books/booksblog/2010/jun/30/thomas-carnacki-supernatural-detective

S.T. Joshi informs me that the Hodgson volume of the Centipede Press Library of Weird Fiction should be available soon.  This will be a 900 page collection of Hodgson’s works and is a bargain at the publication price of $60.  Other volumes will include Lovecraft and Blackwood as well.

 

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R.I.P. Andy Robertson


It is with deep regret that I relate the news that Andy Robertson has passed away after suffering a heart attack and a stroke.

Andy was the man behind the NIGHT LAND website (http://www.thenightland.co.uk/nightmap.html) which has been a constant source of information and promotion regarding Hodgson and this seminal work.  His friend and executor, Brett Davidson, had this to say:

“I have just this morning received news that Andy Robertson, my editor and publisher, my friend and mentor has died as the result of a heart attack and stroke.

 I have said what Andy was, but he was more than that too.  He was a man who had known tragedy, losing his own wife at a young age, leaving behind two very talented daughters, developing Parkinson’s, and on his second marriage, had a son only to almost lose him at the age of three to leukaemia.  Despite all of this he retained his ebullient spirit, never denying reality, but struggling on and always helping the people around him.

 Andy was of course a good friend to me and one of my greatest teachers too.  He helped make me what I am, but I am not alone – there are many people left who can claim that of him.

He will leave a legacy – us.”

Andy has been a friend and supporter of this blog since it began.  We have lost not only a good friend but also a strong force in the preservation and promotion of Hodgson’s legacy.  Let us make a promise to continue his work in his memory.

 

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“Shoon of the Dead”–A poem


In celebration of National Poetry Month, here’s another of Hodgson’s poems.

SHOON OF THE DEAD

Hush! as you pass.

    And hark!

Three taps on the glass

In the gloaming

From someone out in the dark–

Roaming.

*

Hush! and hark

To a step you hear pass:

Someone is out in the dark.

Hark to the death-wind go wailing,

And the tap of a ghost on the glass.

Hush! and hark! Hush! and hark!

*

Open the door,

And listen!

Only the wind’s muffled roar,

And the glisten

Of tears round the moon.

And, in fancy, the tread

Of vanishing shoon–

Out in the night with the Dead.

*

Hush! and hark

To the sorrowful cry

Of the wind in the dark.

Hush! and hark, without murmur or sigh,

To shoon that tread the lost aeons;

To the sound that bids you to die.

Hush! and hark! Hush! and hark!

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A Review of CARNACKI: THE NEW ADVENTURES


Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000038_00067]S.T. Joshi has kindly sent me a copy of his review of CARNACKI: THE NEW ADVENTURES which will be appearing in an upcoming issue of DEAD RECKONINGS from Hippocampus Press.  It is a very favorable review and S.T. says many nice things about the various contributions in the book.  Coming from S.T. Joshi, it is great praise indeed!

Here is a brief excerpt from the review:

Carnacki, the Ghost-Finder (1913) is far from being William Hope Hodgson’s best book, but it has emerged as one of his most popular. Perhaps this is not surprising. Although the short novel The House on the Borderland (1908) is perhaps Hodgson’s signature work, with its unforgettable central section depicting the narrator’s drifting through spectacular cosmic vistas of space and time, Carnacki has the appeal of a charismatic recurring character and exemplifies the provocative fusion of two seemingly disparate genres—the supernatural tale and the detective story. It may be true that Hodgson deliberately catered to popular taste in his creation of the occult detective Thomas Carnacki—he published the first Carnacki tales in the Idler in 1910, only two years after Algernon Blackwood’s John Silence—Physician Extraordinary reached the bestseller lists—and it may also be true that some of Carnacki’s bag of occult contrivances (such as the Electric Pentacle and the Saaamaaa Ritual) are almost self-parodically comical; but it is equally true that no one, to my knowledge, has written John Silence pastiches, whereas the book under review is only the latest contribution to a growing body of new Thomas Carnacki adventures.

I will advise when the review is published.  By that time, the 2nd edition of the book will be available so this seems as good a time as any to remind everyone that the 1st edition will be removed from Amazon tomorrow (4/15/14) so if you haven’t gotten a copy and want one of the soon to be scarce first edition, you have about 24 hours to order one!

 

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New Article Available!


N3_cover_fixed_2013__19242.1392149950.120.120I’m happy to announce that my article, “The Man Who Saved Hodgson!”, has just been published in the latest issue of NAMELESS!

This article is an expanded version of the blog entry about H. C. Koenig and includes new information about Koenig that was furnished to me by his son-in-law, Gene Biancheri.  So this provides a much fuller view of the man whom I believe is primarily responsible for any of us even knowing about Hodgson today!

The third issue of NAMELESS is available here:

http://www.jasunnistore.com/nameless-digest-issue-3/

NAMELESS is a very good and entertaining magazine with a fine blend of fiction, non-fiction and poetry.  It’s a publication that EVERYONE who is interested in weird fiction and literature should be reading.

 

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“The Pirates”–a poem


This week, for National Poetry Month, I present Hodgson’s poem, “The Pirates”.

Unlike most of Hodgson’s poetry, it was published during his lifetime.  It first appeared as part of his collection, THE LUCK OF THE STRONG (Eveleigh Nash, 1916), and later in the posthumous collection, THE CALLING OF THE SEA (Selwyn & Blount, 1920).   This poem shows Hodgson’s ability at conjuring images from words and rings with the air of a traditional sea chanty.

THE PIRATES

 

The roll of the ships

And the thud of bare feet on the deck!

See the flames tower

Over to larboard

Over to starboard

Where the tall ships are sinking

And the black water is winking

As it thinks

As it blinks

At the roar of our jinks,

Aoi! foot it, my lads!

Aoi! foot it!

Aoi! foot it!

The whole deck of her,

Make her bounce,

Hark to her timbers a-creak,

Lord, what a time!

Drink to the joy of our life.

Never a crime!

Only a rhyme

On the lip of the sea.

Hic! Hark unto me

A-poeting

A-goating

Along with the rest of you.

Dance, damn you, dance!

Aoi! see the blue night

Rolling as mad as us!

Cuss, devils, cuss!

Lord! what a jolly mad fight!

What blood

And what doings!

What cud

And what ruings

For odd times in future,

What a night!

Aoi! what a night for a prance,

With the wood battle-fires on our decks

And the flames of our wrecks,

Dance, of, you lubbers!

You cockfighters!

You grubbers for gold!

Aoi! dance until the wash of the ocean

Boats back from our sides,

Dance until she rolls,

Death’s blasted black pendulum,

Between the two poles.

Aoi! we’re bad and we’re bold!

Dieu! what a grand notion!

Aoi! feel the glad motion

And the thud of your hoofs, old jellies

Around and about on the decks,

Make her drum

Like the fists of old Satan

On the walls of far heaven.

Bumble-drum!

Drumble-bum!

Let her go! Let her go!

Dance! All the gods damn you!

Dance! Drink and dance!

Prance, you sons of Satan, prance!

Make the rounded decks to drum!

(Hear me!)

Till she rolls the scuppers under,

Bumble-drum!

Make her hum!

Gods of Thunder, yelp and wonder!

See us make her bounce and wander . . .

Make her heave and roll.

Send the wash across the whole black ocean

Till God rocks upon His throne!

(Aoi! The notion!)

Dance each marrow bone . . . Thud! Thud!

Thud! Thud!

So we pass on, dancing, dancing,

Aoi! Hand the bucket . . . damn the glass!

Aoi! we’re right and tight!

So we pass,

Lords of Darkness in the Everlasting Night.

 

 

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