O lovely demon,
Hemlock and hydromel
Honey and aconite and
Mingle to make thatmouth of thine-
Thy mouth I love: but
most of all
It is thy tears that I
Thy tears, like
fountain-drops that fall
In garden red,Satanical;
Or like the tears of
mist and fire,
Wept by the moon, that
to secret runes when
Some silver philtre,sweet and dire.
By Clark Ashton Smith
I met a witch with amber eyes
Who slowly sang a scarlet rune,
Shifting to an icy laughter
Like the laughter of the moon.
Red as a wanton’s was her mouth.
And fair the breast she bade me take
With a word that clove and clung
Burning like a furnace-flake.
But from her bright and lifted bosom,
When I touched it with my hand,
Came the many-needled coldness
Of a glacier-taken land.
And, lo! The witch with eyes of amber
Vanished like a blown-out flame,
Leaving but the lichen-eaten
Stone that bore a blotted name.
by Clark Ashton Smith
older than sin, and his beard could grow no whiter. He wanted to die.
The dwarfish natives of the Arctic caverns did not speak his language, but conversed in
their own, twittering tongue, conducted incomprehensible rituals, when they were not
actually working in the factories.
Once every year they forced him, sobbing and protesting, into Endless Night. During the
journey he would stand near every child in the world, leave one of the dwarves’ invisible
gifts by its bedside. The children slept, frozen into time.
He envied Prometheus and Loki, Sisyphus and Judas. His punishment was harsher.
Ho. Ho. Ho.
by Neil Gaiman
from Smoke & Mirrors
In 1989, Neil Gaiman and Sandman artist David McKean collaborated on a hundred word Christmas card story titled “Nicholas Was.” Below is a short animated version created by 39 Degrees North Studio.
I wonder will I speak to the girl
sitting opposite me on this train.
I wonder will my mouth open and say,
‘Are you going all the way
to Newcastle?’ or ‘Can I get you a coffee?’
Or will it simply go ‘aaaaah’
as if it had a mind of its own?
Half closing eggshell blue eyes,
she runs her hand through her hair
so that it clings to the carriage cloth,
then slowly frees itself.
She finds a brush and her long fair hair
flies back and forth like an African fly-whisk,
making me feel dizzy.
Suddenly, without warning,
she packs it all away in a rubber band
because I have forgotten to look out
the window for a moment.
A coffee is granted permission
to pass between her lips
and does so eagerly, without fuss.
A tunnel finds us looking out the window
into one another’s eyes. She leaves her seat,
but I know that she likes me
because the light saying ‘TOILET’
has come on, a sign that she is lifting
her skirt, taking down her pants
and peeing all over my face.
by Hugo Williams