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Ben S, our esteemed facilitator, and

MANTICHORE finishing a story for the fourth Agog


1, No 2 (Mar 2006) anthology, and giving esoteric workshops
at Lotus Bookstore here in Wollongong
A Contribution by Leigh Blackmore for (my last one was ‘Alchemy: The Art of
SSFWT Transformation’). I had several fantasy
poems published during 2005 which were
declared eligible for the annual Ditmar
awards, but to the best of my research at
present it appears none of these made the
nomination shortlist. So all this has left me
somewhat short of time and I find myself
assembling this issue somewhat hastily
once again, a fact for which I apologise.

Leigh Blackmore, 78 Rowland Ave, Ben has graciously given me the option of
Wollongong, NSW 2500. Australia. including fictional material here to save
Email: lvxnox@iinet.net.au time. I cannot, therefore, resist the
temptation to present a graphic novel
script which has never been published.
IN THIS ISSUE ‘Soul Food” was written for my colleague
“Soul Food” (script)………………….…2 Chris Sequeira’s comic Pulse of Darkness,
“The Message of Thuba-Mleen: Lord and features the occult detecting duo of
Dunsany’s Influence on Aleister Doc Marten and Sydney Deadlocke. Some
Crowley” …………………………………..3 of the other tales of this duo found their
“Clark Ashton Smith & Polyamory”…..7 way into the comic, but this one was never
Mantichorus: Mailing Comments……...9 illustrated or used. I hope you enjoy its
“Succubus” poem ...….………………..10 lightheartedness. There’s also a poem
which I stuck in as space-filler at the end
News: The time seems to fly, and since of the issue.
December last year I have been very
preoccupied in enrolling and commencing I also present this issue an article on
university studies at the University of “Aleister Crowley and Lord Dunsany”.
Wollongong. Currently I am doing a Please forgive its somewhat unfinished
Bachelor in Creative Arts (majoring in state; this article needs further research
Creative Writing) but this may become a and I am currently attempting to obtain
double degree (Creative from the library of the Texas University at
Arts/Communications) next year. My Austin an unpublished essay by Crowley
university studies have been engrossing which may throw further light on his
so far, and later this session I will be dealings with Dunsany. As I’m a Thelemic
presenting a tutorial on the work The magician, Crowley is my major influence,
Devil’s Elixir by German Romanticist ETA and I am intrigued by the possible
Hoffman; perhaps this will appear in connections (literary and biographical)
Mantichore in future. between him and the fantasist Dunsany,
slight though they may have been.
I have for many years been involved with
the magical arts as well, and this year Also here is an article on “Clark Ashton
have set up with my partners a ritual Smith and Polyamory”. Since I am myself
magical group in the Illawarra (that in a polyamorous relationship (my partners
southcoast region of NSW where are Margi and Graham) I was intrigued
Wollongong is located), called MoonSkin. when reading Smith’s “Hill of Dionysus”
MoonSkin may well evolve into a working sequence to pick up some hints that I had
coven next year. To keep fit (for I have been blind to previously – that Smith was
been getting rather overweight the last few actually involved in a three-way
years) I have been doing Raja yoga once relationship, well before his later marriage.
a week with my partner, the poet Margi By contacting Boyd Pearson of
Curtis. I published an article on Clark eldritchdark.com I got into contact with
Ashton Smith in Phillip A. Ellis’s online Smith expert Donald-Sidney-Fryer, and
Calenture. I’m also writing an essay on Fryer has confirmed this three-way
Thomas Harris for a book being edited by relationship of Smith’s to me in some
detail. At this stage I’m unsure if Fryer has Quinn: "Your reputation precedes you,
given me permission to quote his letter, so gentlemen. Before we get started, here's the
his comments aren’t included in the article monetary part of the customary fee'. (He
herewith, but I hope to expand the article hands Doc a $50 bill).
later to include Fryer’s very authoritative
assessment of the unique relationship of Doc: 'Ta'. (Aside to Deadlocke): 'Handy,
Smith, Eric Barker and Madeline Green. eh?'

Lastly I have tried to make a few Quinn: "Follow me please".


comments on other members’
contributions from the Dec mailing. Panel 3:

Accompanying this mailing should also be Quinn: "Here we are, gentlemen. This is
copies of my booklet on Australian writer Mrs O'Connor - and her late husband".
Terry Dowling (Terry Dowling: Virtuoso of
the Fantastic) which doesn’t purport to be He has ushered the two into a large room
a critical study but was prepared as a sort with sombre furnishings and wood
of career overview for the Conflux panelling. Mrs O'Connor, the grief-stricken
convention last year. I still intend writing widow, is an old grey-haired lady. She sits
my full-length critical study of Dowling (in in a chair with her hands clasped anxiously.
collaboration with Univ of WA’s Dr Van Behind her is a bier upon which reposes the
Ikin) but this project has been on hold for a open coffin containing her husband's
while and needs to be reactivated. I hope corpse. He is also grey-haired and over
the booklet will spark some interest in seventy. On the chest of the corpse sits a
Dowling’s work for those who have not loaf of bread.
encountered it before.
Doc: (to Deadlocke in a whisper): "Wonder
what he died of? Hope it was nothing
infectious".

Panel 4:

SOUL FOOD Quinn: "Mrs O'Connor comes of an old


A Deadlocke and Doc Martin script for Hertfordshire family. She believes unless
Pulse of Darkness someone devours her husband's sins -
symbolically of course - his corpse will walk
By Leigh Blackmore © 1990 again. We try to offer our clients an
- May 12 & 20, 1990. appropriate service no matter how unusual
their beliefs".
Panel 1: At Quinn Funeral Parlour. Quinn, a
tall cadaverous gentleman dressed in black, Mrs O'Connor: "You gentlemen are so kind.
is standing in the doorway having opened it It's not easy to find sin-eaters nowadays".
to Deadlocke and Martin. Quinn has a
supercilious expression - one eyebrow Panel 5:
raised.
Doc: (whispers to Deadlock again): "You
Quinn: 'May I help you?' sure this is such a good idea?"

Deadlocke: (holding aloft an issue of Casket Deadlocke: "Trust me. All we do is eat that
and Sunnyside magazine - an undertakers' bread & drink some beer. A marvellous
trade journal): 'We're responding to your ad, opportunity to participate in a centuries-old
Mr Quinn. You say you want volunteers for death ritual".
a session of 'sin-eating'. Sydney
Deadlocke...' Doc: "Beer? Why didn't ya say so?" (He
looks much happier).
Doc: 'Doc Martin. We're the blokes for the
job. Lead the way'. Panel 6:

Panel 2: Quinn: "If you're ready, gentlemen. Stand


on the other side of the coffin please".
wringing her hands anxiously. Behind her is
They take up their positions on the opposite a tall, looming figure, very dark, with swollen
side of the coffin from Quinn. features. It is recognisably her husband. He
looks threatening and monstrous but says
Panel 7: nothing.

Quinn: "First I hand you the loaf of bread. Mrs O'Connor: "Oh dear, sorry to disturb
You should make sure it's devoured you gentlemen, but my husband's corpse
completely" seems to have - well - been reanimated".

He breaks the bread into two portions above Panel 13:


the corpse's chest and hands one each to
Deadlocke and Doc. Deadlocke: "You did eat all that bread, didn't
you, Doc?"
Panel 8:
Doc: (shamefacedly pulling slice of bread
We see Deadlocke chewing on his bread from pocket): "Well, er - I thought I'd save
but Doc has slipped his into his coat pocket. some for a late supper".
Quinn has turned to pick up a bowl and
doesn't notice. Deadlocke: "We'll have to go back and
perform the ceremony again!"
Quinn: "And now, the mazar-bowl".
Panel 14:
Deadlocke: "Ah yes, the traditional bowl
which contains the brew". Corpse: "You...you...CRUMB!"

Panel 9: Doc: (looking at bread closely): "Hey, I can


see what the problem is. How were we to
Quinn hands the bowl to Doc. know that instead of normal bread, Quinn
used RAISIN toast!"
Doc: "Cheers, mate". (He sculls the beer)
.
Quinn: "You have symbolically taken on the
dead man's sins. The body is at peace".

Panel 10:
"THE MESSAGE OF THUBA-MLEEN”:
Mrs O'Connor: "Oh, thank you, both of you. LORD DUNSANY’S INFLUENCE ON
You've put my mind at rest". ALEISTER CROWLEY

Doc: "Any time, oops, I mean glad to be of by


help in your hour of need". Leigh Blackmore
© 1996/2006
Deadlocke: "Thank you, Quinn. Good day,
Mrs O'Connor". The earliest connection between Dunsany
and Crowley I have
Panel 11:
discovered is
Back at the Deadlocke house. Both our Crowley’s inclusion of
heroes are occupied - Deadlocke reading, Dunsany’s poem ‘”The
Doc watching telly. The doorbell rings. Sphinx at Gizeh” in his
journal The Equinox I,
Doorbell: 'Ring!"
No. 2 (1909).
Deadlocke: "Wonder who that is?"
Another item that highlights Crowley’s
Panel 12: Deadlocke opens door. We are interest in Dunsany’s work is little known,
looking from behind him (Doc's p.o.v.) since the book in which it appears was
through the doorway to see two figures
standing on the doorstep. Mrs O'Connor is never published in Crowley’s lifetime. In
THE GIANT’S THUMB (1915) by Crowley modern mechanization etc. Clearly
appears a poem “The Crowley had read Dunsany’s work, though
there is no indication here either that they
Message of Thuba ever met.
Mleen” which is patently
influenced by Dunsany, The date of THE GIANT’S THUMB
since it mentions some
of Dunsany’s quasi-
Biblical names such as Bethmoora, Mana-
Yood-Sushai etc.

MANA-YOOD-SUSHAI is integral to most


of the tales in Dunsany’s
first collection THE
GODS OF PEGANA indicates that Crowley at the time of its
(1905) [the entire preparation could only have read
collection is reprinted as Dunsany’s earlier work - most likely THE
part of the omnibus GODS OF PEGANA (1905), THE SWORD
BEYONDS THE FIELDS OF WELLERAN & OTHER
WE KNOW with STORIES (1908) , A
introductory material by DREAMER’S TALES (1910)
Lin Carter, by Pan/Ballantine Books, , THE BOOK OF WONDER
1972]. “Bethmoora” was the name of a tale (1912) , FIVE PLAYS
in A DREAMER’S TALES (1910; reprinted (1914), FIFTY-ONE TALES
1979 by Owlswick Press of Philadelphia). (1915).
The gods and all they create are nothing
but the dreams of Mana-Yood-Sushai. The An interesting sidelight is that Dunsany
Hills of Hap are part of the world described was related (through his mother, Erne
in the tale “Idle Days on the Yann” from Elizabeth Louisa Maria Grosvenor) to Sir
the same collection (see map pp 59-60 in Richard Francis Burton, translator of the
Owlswick Press ed). most famous and scholarly version of THE
ARABIAN NIGHTS, one of Crowley’s
THE GIANT’S THUMB was to have been favourites (Burton is honoured as Gnostic
published by the firm of Mitchell Kennerley saint in Crowley’s Liber XV, The Gnostic
in New York in 1915, and actually reached Mass).
proof stage, but was never published until
First Impressions issued their facsimile The poem “The Message of Thuba Mleen”
edition in 1992. is as follows:

Crowley knew poet W.B. Yeats through


the Golden Dawn, and Yeats was friendly I
with Dunsany but it appears that Crowley Far beyond Utnar Vehi, far beyond
never actually met Dunsany in the flesh. The Hills of Hap,
Yeats’ hostility to Crowley, whom he Sits the great Emperor crowned with
blamed for wrecking the Golden Dawn, is diamond,
a strong reason for Yeats never Twitching the rosary in his lap --
introducing Dunsany and Crowley. The rosary whose every head well-conned
Perhaps if Yeats and Crowley had had With sleek unblinking bliss
friendlier relations, Dunsany and Crowley Was once the eyeball of an unborn child of
may have met in person, but it was not to his.
be.
II
Crowley’s autobiography THE He drank the smell of living blood, that
CONFESSIONS OF ALEISTER hissed
CROWLEY mentions Dunsany only once - On flame-white steel.
on p. 188: “my consolation is in the words He tittered while his mother’s limbs were
of Lord Dunsany”. Presumably this is in kissed
reference to Dunsany’s lamentations in By the fish-hooks on the Wheel
collections like FIFTY-ONE TALES of
That shredded soul and shape, more fine admirably portrayed by Lord Dunsany in a
than mist tale called "The Wanderings of Shaun".
Is torn by the bleak wind [This tale is not referenced in
That blows from Kragua and the unknown Joshi/Schweitzer]. The dogma Crowley is
lands behind. here discussing is the Qabalistic dogma
that the Highest is but the Four Elements;
III that there is nothing beyond these, beyond
As the last flesh was flicked, he wearied; Tetragrammaton. Dunsany undoubtedly
slaves knew nothing of Qabala, but Crowley was
From bright Bethmoora fond of finding literary examples such as
Sprang forward with carved bowls whose this, which to him demonstrate intrinsic
crimson craves spiritual knowledge, and he imputes such
Green wine of hashish, black wine of to Dunsany by this reference.
datura,
Like the Yann’s earlier and its latter Crowley also mentions Dunsany in BOOK
waves! 4: MAGICK. He comments: "See Lord
These wines soothed well the spleen Dunsany, THE BLESSING OF PAN - a
Of the Desert’s bastard brother Thuba noble and most notable prophecy of Life's
Mleen. fair fortune."

IV In 1917 as part of a series of magical


He drank, and eyed the slaves. “Mwass, operations with his mistress Roddie Minor
Dragicho, (whom he called ‘the Camel’), a series
Xu-Xulgulara, known as the Amalantrah Workings,
Saddle your mules!” he whispered, “ride Minor, on Crowley’s instructions, asked
full slow the spirit how to spell “Baphomet”. She
Unto Bethmoora then says, “a man like The Gods of the
And bid the people of the city know Mountain answered my questions about
That that most ancient snake, this”. The Gods of the Mountain is the title
The Crone of Utnar Vehi, is awake.” of one of Dunsany’s plays. Presumably
Crowley had shared his love of Dunsany’s
V writings with ‘the Camel’.
Thus twisted he his dagger in the hearts
Of those two slaves Around 1917/1918 there appeared in The
That bore him wine; for they knew well the International a series of symbolic stories
arts by Crowley. This was later supposed to be
Of Utnar Vehi – what the grey crone issued by the Mandrake Press of London,
craves – which issued Crowley’s novel
Knew how their kindred in the vines and MOONCHILD, a booklet of three stories
marts THE STRATAGEM and two volumes of
Of bright Bethmoora, thus accurst, the CONFESSIONS. Mandrake went
Would rush to the mercy of the Desert’s bankrupt before GOLDEN TWIGS (which
thirst. had reached page proof stage) could be
issued; and a slightly later plan (1932) by
VI PR Stephenson to issue an Australian
I would that Mana-Yood-Sushai would edition also came to nothing; GOLDEN
lean TWIGS finally saw print in 1988. (See
And listen, and hear Bibliography). Symonds (p. 444) sees
The tittering, thin-bearded, epicene these stories as “in the manner of Lord
Dwarf, fringed with fear, Dunsany”; however JG Fraser’s GOLDEN
Of the Desert’s bastard brother Thuba BOUGH, that monumental study of the
Mleen! origins of Magic and Religion, directly
For he would wake, and scream inspires them.
Aloud the Word to annihilate the dream.
In Crowley’s 1918 essay "Good Hunting!” 6
In later writings, Crowley makes further he appends a list of plays which
passing references to Dunsany. In "An demonstrate his theorem that "dramatic
Essay Upon Number" (1910) (published in art, which represents drama - action -
Equinox I, No. 5) AC discussing the consequently concerns itself with hunting,
number 741 says "this dogma is most and with nothing else", including A NIGHT
AT AN INN. This is a play by Dunsany first which is a footnote to “Of
published in 1916.
the Bloody Sacrifice and
Also, I think, Crowley recommends
Dunsany in a list of recommended authors Cognate Matters” where
for his magical order the AA (Silver Star).
Crowley comments: “See
Clearly, Dunsany’s aristocratic outlook
appealed to Crowley. Crowley saw in Lord Dunsany, THE BLESSING OF PAN -
Dunsany’s themes of cosmic irony on the
one hand, and noble drama on the other, a noble and most notable prophecy of
exemplars of his own philosophy.
Life’s fair fortune.”
Kenneth Grant, prolific writer on
Crowleyean magick, also incorporates
Aleister Crowley, like Dunsany, was a
Dunsany into his magical world.
world-class chess player. Dunsany
invented in 1942 a variation of chess
In Mark Amory’s BIOGRAPHY OF LORD
called “Dunsany’s Game’. One wonders
DUNSANY, Amory recounts (p.72) how
whether Crowley ever learned to play this
Dunsany’s story “The Hashish Man”
particular variation.
(check date) “drew a fan-letter from
Aleister Crowley, the Great Beast and
black magician, who praised it fulsomely No Dunsany biographies, autobiographies
but with one reservation”. In his letter or bibliography mention Aleister Crowley,
Crowley wrote, “I see you only know it the magician and prophet of the New Aeon
(hashish) by hearsay not by experience. of Thelema. The connection between them
You have not confused time and space as
is little known and slight, but the
the true eater does.” There are other brief
comments regarding “erotic magazines” connection does exist. Ironically, Dunsany
which the author claims the Beast sent may not have been aware of Crowley’s
with his letter in hopes “to lead the young admiration for him (as he was largely
author into a maze of nameless vice and unaware of Lovecraft’s more fervent
unwholesome delights”.
admiration).
IF the above story is true, Dunsany must
have thought little of Crowley, for there is I have recently discovered (2003) that an
no mention of him in any of the four unpublished essay by Crowley about
separate volumes of Dunsany’s Dunsany exists. It is “The Art of Lord
autobiography that were published Dunsany” (date unknown) and exists in a
between 1938 and 1949. galley proof with other Crowley papers in
the Crowley Collection of the Harry
Crowley however continued to make Ransom Humanities Research Center at
sporadic references to Dunsany in his own the University of Texas at Austin. A further
writings. expansion of this article will take into
account this Crowley paper.
In “An Essay Upon Number” (see 777 and
Other Qabalistic Writings, York Beach, References
ME: Weiser, 6th pr 1991, p. 36), Crowley
discussing 741 says “this dogma is most Amory, Mark. BIOGRAPHY OF LORD
admirably portrayed by Lord Dunsany in a
tale called “The Wanderings of Shaun”. DUNSANY London: Collins, 1972.
[This tale is not referenced in
Joshi/Schweitzer]. Crowley, Aleister. BOOK 4: LIBER ABA.
York Beach, ME: Weiser, 1994.
Crowley also mentions Dunsany in
Crowley, Aleister. THE CONFESSIONS
reference to THE BLESSING OF PAN OF ALEISTER CROWLEY. UK: Routledge
Kegan Paul, 1979.
[1927] - see BOOK 4 new edition p. 210
Crowley, Aleister. AN ESSAY UPON then again in THE HILLOF DIONYSUS: A
NUMBER. Edmonds, WA: Sure Fire SELECTION (1962) also by Squires,
Press, 1988. (“The Hill of Dionysus is a ‘cycle’ of some
30+ poems including this one). appears to
Crowley, Aleister. “”Good Hunting! An be about a somewhat unconventional
Essay on the Nature of Comedy and sexual relationship which Smith may have
Tragedy”. The International 12, No 3 (Mar shared with both a man and a woman.
1918); reprint in Laylah 3, No 1 (Mar 1996)
This type of relationship would now be
Crowley, Aleister. THE GIANT’S THUMB. referred to as polyamorous, a term coined
[US]: First Impressions, 1992. by Morning Glory Ravenheart, co-founder
with Oberon Zell Ravenheart of the USA’s
Crowley, Aleister. GOLDEN TWIGS. Church of All Worlds.
Chicago, IL: Teitan Press, 1988. (Edited
with an intro by Martin P. Starr). In his time, it would have been considered
extremely unconventional; however such
Crowley, Aleister. THE GOSPEL relationships have existed throughout
ACCORDING TO ST BERNARD SHAW. history (reference THREE IN LOVE). The
scene opens with Smith declaiming that
Crowley, Aleister. 777 & OTHER
QABALISTIC WRITINGS. York Beach, “this is enchanted ground…
ME: Weiser, 6th pr 1991 a place fulfilled and circled round
with fabled years and presences of Eld”.
Grant, Kenneth. HECATE’S FOUNTAIN.
The phrase “circled round” suggests
UK: Skoob Books,. 1992. magical practices, old rituals where the
circle represents the sacred place of a
magical working, and a circle drawn to
Joshi, S.T. “Pegana and Its Analogues” in
separate off the grosser outside world
his LORD DUNSANY: MASTER OF THE
from the sacred space within. Smith’s lines
ANGLO-IRISH IMAGINATION. Westport.
bear a faint resonance of Coleridge’s, from
CT: Greenwood Press, 1995.
“Kubla Khan”, with its “weave a circle
round him thrice, and close your eyes with
Joshi, S.T. and Darrell Schweitzer. LORD
holy dread”.
DUNSANY: A BIBLIOGRAPHY.
There is a picture of the place that inspired
Metuchen, NJ: Scarecrow Press, 1993.
the poem in Sidney-Fryer’s bibliography of
Bibliography Smith (see p. 262). It is called The Knoll,
at San Raphael. It is noted that Smith, Eric
Symonds, John. THE KING OF THE Barker and Madelynne Green often came
SHADOW REALM: ALEISTER here on outings. In fact the photo is by
CROWLEY: HIS LIFE AND MAGIC. Fryer (1967)
London: Gerald Duckworth, 1989. [This is
essentially the third revised edition of In the first stanza Smith mentions both
Symonds’ book THE GREAT BEAST, first nymphs and satyrs, the women and men
published 1951 and in an augmented ed in classical Grecian myth who frolicked in the
1971]. woods and made love under the stars.

As with many Smith poems of love which


lasts through the ages, here we learn that
CLARK ASHTON SMITH &
POLYAMORY “these things have been before,
© 2006 Leigh Blackmore And these are things forevermore to be;
And he and I and she, Inseparate as of
yore,
The Hill of Dionysus Are celebrants of some old mystery”.
(written 5 Nov 1942)
(not published until Of course the relationship which exists
after his death in a between the three may be merely platonic,
12-copy edition by but given Smith is suggesting it is a deep
Roy Squires 1961 and triadic love which has lasted through the
ages, it is more suggestive of an erotic/ “she” reverse their places in the second
committed relationship than merely a line.
Platonic one.
Some plangent lines of description of the
We have some particularly delicate lines woman follow:
in:
“Her hair, between my shoulder and the
“Under the warm blue skies sun,
The flickering butterflies. Is turned to iridescent fire and gold :
Dancing with their frail shadows, poise A witch’s, whereon
and pass” Wild memories are spun”

Although even here Smith retains his The poem concludes with classical
usual penchant for reminding us that “all references to Anteros. In Greek myth,
things must pass”, with the words “frail”, Anteros ("return- or opposite-love") is
and “pass”. sometimes the brother of Eros, the god of
love. The latter languished of loneliness
With the lines: until Aphrodite gave Anteros to him as a
playmate: love must be answered if it is to
“Now, with the earth for board, prosper. Anteros is also the god who
The bread is eaten and the wine is punishes those who scorn love or do not
poured”, return love of others. Smith says that in
this worlds “Anteros is lord” but the poem
we have a clearly sacramental symbol, an looks to a place where “magical delight
embodiment of that Dionysian spirit for and sleep unfold” beyond that world.
which Smith always stood – the sexual,
wine-imbibing attitude as opposed to the The final stanza is one of “respite and
Apollonian (intellectual) spirit. release from all that hampers us”, a plain
statement of Smith’s ease with this pagan,
The threesome theme is confirmed again Dionysian state of affairs that he is
by “While she, the twice-adored” (that is, enjoying with his friends of two genders.
adored by two men) “Between us lies on Another classical reference rounds it out:
the pale autumn grass”
“Where grape and laurel twine,
Again he emphasises the timeless nature Once more we drink the Dionysian wine,
of their love Ringed with the last horizon that is
Greece”.
“Thus has she lain before,
And thus we two have watched her Smith’s relations with women were
reverently; complex. Early in his career, he was
More beautiful, and more something of a ‘rake’, having affairs with
Mysterious for her body’s nudity.” several married women in Auburn. In
1916, when Smith was 23, he was in love
This is reinforced some lines later with a with a woman called Iris (Behrends p. 19)
reinvention of the second stanza: who suffered from consumption
(tuberculosis) and died of it before she
“These things have happened even thus was thirty. Smith’s later wife referred to
of yore, this woman as “His first, hopelessly ill
These things are part of all futurity; beloved” (CAS SL p. 12, quoting CAS to
And she and I and he, GS (26 July 1917; ms, NYPL). Smith
Returning as before, seems to have been heartbroken by her
Participate in some unfinished mystery”. death. For her (it seems certain) he wrote
the immeasurably poignant lines of the
The line with the pronouns puts them in a poem “Winter Song” (Auburn Journal Nov
different order – the first time it was “he 1923) which ends:
and I and she”. Smith seems to be playing
with the combination, in both lines the poet “here on the darkening wold,
being the central player or pivot, with the In the bleak wind blown from space,
other two either side of him; the “he” and I recall thy fugitive grace,
And sigh for thy hair’s lost gold.”
with Barker and Green, Smith expert Scott
Yet he was not in favour of marriage, at Connors has confirmed a polyamorous
least at this time – he wrote “Marriage is reading of the poem, based on information
an error I was never tempted to commit: I provided to him by Donald Sidney-Fryer.
have not been in love with an unmarried Connors states: “In a nutshell, you are
woman since I was fifteen! Anyway, I correct in your deductions that their
object to marriage on moral grounds”. (To friendship was more than platonic. Eric
George Sterling, ALS, NYPL; CAS SL p. was apparently very open-minded.” (email
59) to LDB, Jan 10, 2006)

Yet later, aged 61, on 10 Nov 1954 he Smith’s great poetry collection delivered to
married Carol Jones Dorman, a widow Arkham House in Dec 1949, was
with three children. This relationship dedicated to Eric Barker and Madelynne
seems to have been conventionally Green. (It did not see print until over
monogamous. twenty years later, in 1971)

His middle period seems to have been


rather more experimental. We know that
from the age of 45 to 48, Smith did “more
living than writing” and became very close
to poet Eric Barker (1905-73) and his wife,
dancer Madelynne Greene.(?-?) Born THE MANTICHORUS:
1893, so 45 in 1938 and 48 in 1941. COMMENTS ON LAST
These dates tie in to writing “Hill” in 1942.
Unfortunately the whereabouts of MAILING
correspondence of Smith’s with Eric
Barker and Madelynne Green is unknown These comments are necessarily brief due
(CAS SL p. xxii) although a revealing letter to my shortage of time, but I would like to
of Greene’s to Fryer is printed in Fryer’s stress I greatly enjoyed reading all
bibliography of Smith (see p. 154). In it members’ contributions and look forward
she refers to “the love that bound us to the next round!
together during those years when we first
knew each other, Ashton created his last Martin Andersson – Hyperborean
cycle of love poems, The Hill of Dionysus, Exhalations: Martin, you seem to acquire
which he dedicated to me”. This letter is (and perhaps to read) an extraordinary
worth reading for Greene’s own number of books. A man after my own
impression of the intimate friendship that heart! The Miskatonicon report was fun.
she, Barker and Smith shared. According Oh that Australia had a contingent of
to Fryer p. 20, the three remained very Lovecraft fans big enough to warrant such
close until 1955, which is the year after he a convention. My yahoo discussion group
married Carol Dorman. ‘The Australian HP Lovecraft Society’
seems to attract little interest; perhaps one
He does mention them in several of the day there will be more activity around HPL
letters in SELECTED LETTERS, singling in this country.
out for praise Madelyne’s artistic spirit and
ability to transform poetry (including his) Ben Szumskyj - Quill is Mightier Than
into dance. (See CAS SL, Letters 226, to the Sword: I extend my condolences
Albert M. Bender, Nov 4, 1939, p. 327; again on the death of your grandfather.
Letter 235, to August Derleth (TLS, Congratulations, though, on your
SHSW), Oct 29, 1941, p. 336; Letter 238, distinctions in your university work! Ben, it
to August Derleth {TLS, SHSW], May 9, would be great if you could send us a
1942, p. 339). It seems significant that picture of yourself or include a picture on
Madelynne Greene was sent a copy of his your zine. How about pictures of all
will, which he had also sent to August members on the front page of the official
Derleth; this suggests the closeness of mailing zine. I always wonder what the
their relationship despite Greene being other members look like (this was the case
married to Barker. when I was in EOD, as well).

While the references in Smith’s published


letters do not make explicit his relationship
Very good article on Denis Siluk’s fiction. I
haven’t read any of Denis’s work and hope
to get the opportunity one day when I am
not poor and can buy books again! Also
enjoyed the article/essay on Greek
heroes.

John Howard – When the Change-


Winds Blow: Greatly enjoyed your article
on Carl Jacobi! It’s a pity Jacobin never
wrote a novel or he may be a little better
known than he is. You may be interested
to know I have what appears to be a small
original photo of Jacobi. I have a complete
Arkham House collection and on going
through some of the Jacobi books
recently, I found this photo of the author
tucked inside. I was quite excited and
thought it a find that may interest the
Browne Library for Popular Culture SUCCUBUS
Studies at Bowling Green State University
in Ohio, which houses (amongst other ©1984
collections of interest to genre fans) the Leigh Blackmore
Carl Jacobi collection. I emailed the library
offering them the photo or a copy of it for
the collection, but they didn’t reply. Maybe Dead moons slumber in your eyes;
they have enough photos of Jacobi. Pale and leprous is your face;
Anyway, if someone reminds me I will try Parchment-like your withered thighs
and scan the photo and reproduce it in a That grip me in their dry embrace.
future Mantichore.
Harsh your fingers as they move;
Scott Shaffer – The Dalriadic Dry your breasts beneath my hands;
Chronicles: I enjoyed the story “Welcome My doom is this convulsive love -
to Paradise”, another take on Lovecraft, You scrape my skin, as desert sands.
though I must confess I have almost given
up reading Cthulhu Mythos stories after all I kiss your lips of chilly cold,
these years because there are just so I clasp your crumbling, death-like form.
many of them. As for the mailing My mouth tastes full of bone and mould…
comments, I’m not really in the loop about
controversies in the Robert E Howard My mind surrenders to the Worm.
world today, so I enjoyed your views but
don’t have too much to add.
Written Thornleigh caravan, 17 June 1984.
The lingering influence of Clark Ashton
Smith on my poetry is evident here. This
poem has the distinction of having been
being rejected for publication in my own
magazine, Terror Australis. The other two
editors didn’t like it, and as our policy was
that two out of three votes either way won, it
didn’t go in!