H. P. Lovecraft is best known for his fiction, but he spent a great portion of his creative energy on his poetry. The Ancient Track collects the complete poetry of one of the twentieth centuries most iconic writers. The great majority of these poems were written between 1914, and 1920, the period of Lovecraft's heaviest concentration on poetry.
Lovecraft's poetry may be regarded as the lesser of is literary output, but it merits collection precisely because it is an important ancillary to his other more well known forms of creative endeavor. Prior to the publication of The Ancient Track, Lovecraft's poetry had been scattered across several different volumes whose textual accuracy has not always been exemplary, while several poems had been uncollected.
"The Ancient Track" By H. P. Lovecraft
There was no hand to hold me back That night I found the ancient track Over the hill, and strained to see The fields that teased my memory. This tree, that wall-I knew them well, And all the roofs and orchards fell Familiarly upon my mind As from a past not far behind. I knew what shadows would be cast When the late moon came up at last From back of Zaman's Hill, and how The vale would shine three hours from now. And when the path grew steep and high, And seemed to end against the sky, I had no fear of what might rest Beyond that silhouetted crest. Straight on I walked, while all the night Grew pale with phosphorescent light, And wall and farmhouse gable glowed Unearthly by the climbing road. There was the milestone that I knew- "Two miles to Dunwich"-now the view Of distant spire and roofs would dawn With ten more upward paces gone. . . .
There was no hand to hold me back That night I found the ancient track, And reached the crest to see outspread A valley of the lost and dead: And over Zaman's Hill the horn Of a malignant moon was born, To light the weeds and vines that grew On ruined walls I never knew. The fox-fire glowed in field and bog, And unknown waters spewed a fog Whose curling talons mocked the thought That I had ever known this spot. Too well I saw from the mad scene That my loved past had never been- Nor was I now upon the trail Descending to that long-dead vale. Around was fog-ahead, the spray Of star-streams in the Milky Way. . . . There was no hand to hold me back That night I found the ancient track.
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