Michael Fantina

"This is the hour when moonstruck poets know
What fungi sprout in Yuggoth and what scents
And tints of flowers fill Nithon's continents
Such as in no poor earthly garden blow."
--- H.P. Lovecraft


The prism glowed before my dreaming eyes,
Incandescence from myriad dim wells
Of darkest night, revealing ancient tells,
In dream-shunned gulfs by black and putrid seas.
Prism visions from some archaic time
Blazed multiform and sullen from those beams,
Rending patterns in this dim world like seams
Of stitchings from the cosmos -- so sublime!

Again the prism whirled! The ages gushed
In torrents from the Elder Time long dead.
Bat-winged hosts, chanting from the deeps, now rushed
Hideously filled with the awful dread
Of their base gods, who sleep within our world,
And whose strange dreams the prism now unfurled.


Beyond the dismal gulfs of space I saw,
Festering in strange seas by Nithon's shores,
Obscenely fungoid creatures used as lures,
To fill some half remembered, eldritch law.
Through phosphorescent clouds that were a cloak,
Which acted as a shield that all might shun
That hateful place, devoid of hope or sun,
It seems I plunged through swirls of putrid smoke.

Beyond those burning clouds my eyes revealed
Stone monoliths that towered grim and red,
Above strange hills where demon laughter pealed,
Far down into the valleys of the dead.
There larva swarms of dark and wretched things,
Feast maggot-like on what the fungi brings.


On Yaddith where the Elder Gods once warred,
Against fell things that men have come to fear,
Temples of the hell-born rise, tier on tier,
Grim icons of the loathsome and abhorred.
But what is it that stirs in that dim fane?
What sifts the dust and breathes the stagnant air,
And groans at night within that frightful lair,
There on that demon hill obscene, insane?

Demonic howlings, and those great tiers burst,
Fast hurtling into space. Now in that void
Where once the dim fane stood, is that thrice-cursed
God whose demoniac spawn are well deployed.
No living soul can guess the maddening truth
That rings, "Ia! Ia! Shub-Niggurath!"


In tenebrous skies horned hosts befell
The hapless dreamer pondering the tints
And hues that blush on Nithon's continents,
Winged fiends from the aviaries of Hell.
Cacophonies, unknown to any ear,
Rebounded down apocalyptic deeps,
Stirring R'lyeh, where dead Cthulhu sleeps,
Dreaming with his stone cut, vaulted bier.

The yawning void filled with that noxious flock,
As foolish dreamers wept or laughed insane;
A wretched few turned back in fright to mock
This present world made totally mundane.
The Ancient Ones, asleep now, still abide
The gaping gulfs of night -- or at our side!


Within black forests of an age long dead,
Among primal ferns dripping with verdure,
Have fled all vestiges of good and pure,
And in those evil shadows there I read
Of mammoth wars within the Elder Time,
Of mythic citadels in driving snows,
And from what Tophet the black lotus grows,
To cursed demon gods guilty of strange crime.

My senses reeled! I stared in mystic fear
Of such portentous pasts and raging wars,
And such aphotic things beyond the stars
That made my finite mind grow weak and sere.
This vision faded, died. The prism passed
And whirled yet another -- I stood aghast!


Foul minion of that cursed amorphous blight,
Made Dark Leader by Azathoth, his lord,
With black and swarming hordes put to the sword
The race that thrived within the elder light
Of space, whose decimated numbers fled
Down the dark eons through the Gates of Time,
In dream, to primal swamps of some lost clime,
To where the distant peaks flamed ruby red.

The Great Dark One, leading throngs from N'Kai,
In league with Golgoroth and older gods,
Has turned his teeming legions from the sky
And slain vast host with overwhelming odds.
The One-Eyed Dark One, spawned in dismal Yoth,
Retains with the Old Ones a ghastly troth.


I raised my hand and made the Elder Sign
At the horror of what I saw unfurl:
Yog-Sothoth at the Gates of Time uncurl
His demonic tentacles so malign.
A thousand crawling things those feelers grasped,
Great chimeras that people future realms,
Mythic griffins and sable singing elms,
And legions more it plucked back from the past.

Fain would I have died from titanic fear
At that caliginous obscenity,
That down the corridors of Time roams free,
To rend men's minds and leave them weak and sere.
I cursed my eyes! For now I could descry
The demon god with three lobed burning eye!


Far off within the dim and distant stars
Abide the Mighty Ones and lesser gods,
Who move down paths my memory now trods,
On strange dark roads to ithyphallic wars.
I half-recall that black alien scene,
But cannot tell by what means I can know
This entourage of visions filled with woe,
Be it some other life or ancient dream.

I know for truth these fearful things exist,
And dwell with us until the end of times;
They may be spied by flashes in the mist
Of certain dreams which show strange primal climes.
Here dwell mighty, leviathan gods of yore,
Who sleep and dream beyond this world's frail door.


Amidst the firestorm I saw the Peak
Glow malevolent with powers long unused,
And ruined shrines, by ancient tribes abused,
That hold fell images no humans seek.
It was some plague unknown which killed that race,
Who built those horrid shrines in times remote.
Some say it was the Elder Ones who smote
Those hate crazed worshipers and left no trace.

Now just the name of that cursed Peak is known,
Although its place is hid from human kind,
And none have sought it, save within the mind
Of one old dreamer. Start Peak! Fire blown,
Swift scourged by great winds the most titanic,
There to howl upon its heights -- "Mount Yaanek!"


It seemed a cavern yawned from out the night;
Through stranger means it seemed that I was led
Into its deeps, which there entomb the dead,
And where grim phantom beings skirt the light.
Down those giant steps I raced, black with fear,
At those gaunt grinning things I thought I saw:
Strange horrors bound by no prosaic law.
O God! I saw the eyes and fang-bared leer!

That labyrinth ran down into the bowels
Of that eons old cyclopean tomb,
Where brooding ghouls lurk in eternal gloom,
Where dreams erupt in awful wailing howls!
That cave runs down into a nether well,
Where none return, and of which, none can tell.


What dreamers know these avenues of ill
That lead to countless views of hidden realms?
The ways are lined with twisted oaks and elms
That hide the running brook and winding rill,
So none might see those panting, frantic broods
That fly and lurk and crawl at nightmares' edge.
There, see! The tarn encroached with mounting sedge,
I still recall, near Nineveh's dim woods!

A chosen few can journey down these lanes,
As those grim lurkers press so close at hand.
The dreamer's vague memory here profanes
This waking world, The Sun, his life, his land!
I curse the day I plumbed this mantic gloom,
That showed the way to dark impending doom!


Arabesque domes loomed luminous and bold
Above a myriad of antique fanes,
Of whose legend no memory remains,
For all that's left is stone vast ages old.
Runes deep cut in awesome granite lintels,
Worn by titanic winds down boundless years,
Portent of old, repellent brooding fears
Unguessed, of which no mystic now foretells.

Death-like and silent as some haunted tomb,
Rest one upon the other ancient stones,
Which hint of some apocalyptic doom
That left this city heir to bleaching bones.
Few sojourners have seen this cryptic sight,
Or gazed upon these leprous domes by night.


Huge opalescent colonnades uphold,
Mightily, the great pantheon where reign
Of old, the Ancient Ones who willed that fane,
Its silver halls with friezes worked with gold.
The dome swells mushroom-like from that huge roof,
Cyclopean to any men have seen,
Cut from Yith's ages old obsidian.
Convinced were all who saw that god-struck proof!

Feared by all creatures, that fane is not here
Within the realm of Time or yawning space.
Though some have sought it, none have found the place,
Guarded by some fantastic, unknown fear.
O sing a dirge for those who would blaspheme
The Old Ones or their nighted worlds of dream!


The dream beast swayed with massive limping gait,
On cyclopic goat-legs through slimy seas.
Biped, huge-headed, paws hung to the knees,
Lumbering forward its titanic weight.
Fescennine worlds of dark and nether ill
Sent forth this scourge to madden human ken,
Sowing terrors to raze the world of men,
If only they could dream this insane thrill.

The vision died away like summer storms,
But left me trembling at terror's brink,
Reliving fears and dim misshapen forms,
So awesome and malign that none dare think.
For it has some caliginous design,
Just what, no earthbound dreamer can divine.


Lord of Night and Darkness, great Drog-N'Lyth,
Harbinger of night's thousand ills and more,
Cascades his wrath on all who dare adore
The Mighty Ones beyond his dismal Yith.
He it was, who proud, cursed the Elder Ones,
Stirred Azathoth and his rebellious brood;
They lost, expelled into infinitude
To sleep in worlds dim lit by dying suns.

Misshapen forms we spy by strange dark seas,
Or shadows in some desert half-recalled,
Cast oddly by contorted, ancient trees,
Enchant our minds and leave our fears annulled.
Be not seduced by this blasphemous shade,
Let not the Lord of Night, thy soul dissuade!


I saw the peerless walls of unknown Ur
Rise in the Chaldees, rivaling the hills.
Such visionings as spark forbidden thrills
That Sumer Kings had never known before.
Ziggurats lurched to hate-spawned deities;
I laughed half-mad with fear at what I learned;
The Old Ones had been there, had raised, then burned,
And left the feasting maggots, flies and fleas.

It was no earthly might that cracked those walls,
But forces from some black abyss of gloom
That raised those heights, then sent them to their doom,
And stained with blood the marble palace halls.
I saw the bastard birth of that old place,
And laughed again at what its walls embrace.


The brine shoots blackly from the shrouded shores,
Laps fearfully the cliffs that darkly keep
Their silent sentinel for One asleep,
And dully fills our world with raspy roars.
The fissured rocks like titans, boldly beam
At this alluvion of swirling foam,
That down unfathomed ages was the home
Of One long dead to all but godlike dream.

His sprouting face within this antique tomb,
Shall soon awake and marshal forth His flock;
Gigantic wings shall sound the time of doom,
As boundless power rends the fissured rock.
Great Cthulhu, arisen from His bier,
Shall suck the life of men with ringing fear.


Huge groined vaults of basaltic, polished stone
Yawn upwards like behemoth, gaping maws,
Enshrouding awful dreams and eldritch laws,
Black codes that stand unto themselves alone.
No breathing thing in cycles had traversed
Those ebon blocks which are the mighty halls,
Nor brushed against the ornate, runic walls
Which tell in runes obscure why it was cursed.

Some terror stalks those sable corridors,
Drips from those nighted vaults like demons' blood
To snare bold dreamers in malefic mud
That sticks like hellish clot across those floors.
Beware in dreams, these ebon vaults of stone,
For once inside the dreamer's doom is sown.


It seemed I was a priest of fabled Keft,
Anointed as the Keeper of the Book,
Upon which no sentient thing might look
Save me, the Keeper. Then there was the theft
Which made me cringe and fill with boundless grief,
That ancient tome was cursed by gods unguessed,
And woe to priest and fool who had transgressed,
For both were doomed, the Keeper and the thief.

I fled that place as though I were in Hell;
With the years that followed I saw Troy burned,
Knew Plato, was with Caesar when he fell
And saw the Jew for which the world had yearned.
Forty centuries filled with scourging strife,
That curse runs on, which was not death, but life!


Beneath the dolman lurched a hellish shape,
Deformed and twisted like some evil dream.
Its features drenched in darkness. It would seem
Some mercy veiled what incubi would ape.
This monstrous thing of night, this rasping beast,
Whose awful form held now a double ill,
Something I sensed, but would not bring my will
To bear, for on such dreams do madmen feast.

Whatever worlds may die or live to breed
I cannot care, or hope, or even think,
For all is valueless, I pay not heed.
From some cup of Lethe fain would I drink.
Since then the night is rare I have slept through --
God, that damned shape had not one head, but two!


The jagged stones had slashed my weary feet,
Across the fire plain I heard the groan
Of noxious wraiths who quietly intone
The name of Uth, as on their breasts they beat.
Beyond, the Vales of Pnath! I thrilled to think,
Fell images of Uth must darkly stand,
Ascending sky-ward from the burning sand,
And into evil darkness nightly sink.

The Lord of Blood had lured me to this place,
Where an alien sun at daybreak gleams,
Lighting, redly, aphotic Uth's stark face,
Which lights the horror of all tortured dreams.
Not since the revelations of Kadath
Have dreamers dared these haunted Vales of Pnath.


I saw a tower from the jungle rise
Effulgently in that benighted world,
Guarding secrets the tutored eye unfurled,
Invisible to all with mundane eyes.
Each secret a fountainhead of power
Of antique beings lost in cyclic dust,
Of nameless gods whose forms are still seen thrust
Above the tress, ringed around the tower.

The vision dimmed. Within the veldt I spied
Those cryptic beasts of darkness who once drank
With gusto on each plenilunar night
The blood of living men and nightly pried
Into the tombs of mythic kings and sank
Their yellow teeth with gluttonous delight.


I dreamed of stagnant tarn and haunted wood,
The stars, like demon's eyes, shot down their light,
A feeble glow against the mounting night.
My dreams had brought me here in hopes they could
Trek through the mystic ways of grace and sin,
To find one thing of value ere I lie
Forever near this vaulted, star-hung sky,
Hard by these Vales of Pnath, the Vaults of Zin.

No more these views of Hell, these cryptic keeps,
Hide in my dreams where eldritch terror sleeps.
No more these visions of our primal slime,
The lurking ghoul, the door unlocking Time.
No more the dreaming Ancient Ones intrude
Upon my new and deathless solitude!


Amorphous gods belligerent and old
Abiding frozen wastes and searing veldt,
Dream to prodigious men, the mystic Celt,
The druids of a swampy isle and hold
Them in some vile troth, heedless of all Time
Or yawning voids, while some hapless poet,
Visioning baroque worlds, not his, has writ
Of leprous dreams demonic and divine.

The prism once effulgent now is dead;
Portentous dreams no more assail my sleep
Like giant nenuphars of flaming red . . .
Dreams of the Old Ones in their distant prime,
Shambling down the eons, forever keep
My soul, with countless others, for all time!


© 2001 Edward P. Berglund
"Night Terrors": © 1974, 2001 Michael Fantina. All rights reserved.
Graphic © 1999-2001 Erebus Graphic Design. All rights reserved. Email to: James V. Kracht.

Created: August 14, 2001; Updated: August 9, 2004