Sidney Sime illustration from Lord Dunsany's "Sword of Welleran"

Into the Dark lands


Into the Dark Lands again.

He crossed the small stream.

The black pebbles that the bubbling waters

ran swiftly over

crunched coldly beneath his feet.

The icy water seeped and soaked

thru his thick and sodden boots.

Later he passed the Warrior turned to Stone,

seated as always, chin in hand, elbow on knee,

waiting by the rough chalk track

worn winding between the green

and undulating lands.

This was as it should be.


Later, the Deserted Castle of course,

the doors creaking in the wind,

the winding staircase that led nowhere.

In her bed the Sleeping Girl lay

swathed in spiders’ silken weavings.

He left her sleeping still

and going out to the Ruined Gardens

he continued through that overgrown

and melancholy place

till he reached the Well

in whose dark, silent depths

could be seen the reflections

not of the Night Sky above, but

of unknown skies with Strange Stars

arranged in unfamiliar patterns.


Remembering the old man’s words,

he stooped, and picking up a black pebble

dropped it into the Well.

After the ripples stopped running,

(criss-crossing Web of Wyrd),

and the waters were still again,

a different sky was seen reflected

from the surface,

with new constellations

and unfamiliar stars.

It was as the Old One had promised him.

Satisfied he turned

and returned the way he’d walked,

past Warrior and Maid,

Castle & Stairs

following the winding chalk track.

As he crossed the stream

the bright gold of a new dawn

was already beginning to glimmer

on the rim of the edge of the world.



Found the above poem in an old diary the other day. I don’t even remember writing it. Perhaps it was a dream fragment. Actually I find this sort of stuff appallingly easy to write, you just go into a sort of light trance and let the part of the brain that deals in symbolic gibberish off the leash. Lord Dunsany, for example, would do this and churn out reams of the stuff. But the world has enough sagas for now, so this small fragment must suffice.

PS. The poem at least gives me the excuse to use for today’s illustration, something from the forgotten artistic genius, Sidney Sime. Sime illustrated most of Dunsany’s best work over the years and his contribution is not to be under-rated. The man knew how to do mysterious!

To see Sime’s work check out


rhubabrb jpig



The Reverend Hellfire is a recovering Performance Poet and an ordained Minister of several shadowy cults.

Will write crap for money.



~ by reverendhellfire on April 14, 2013.

6 Responses to “INTO THE DARK LANDS”

  1. Classid gothic images, well assembled in an original form.

  2. I always love reading poems or shorts like this when I can’t sleep it’s as though a subtle amount of sleep deprivation brights out some hints of quietly hidden mysteriously worded beauty that gives just enough description to spark the readers imagination into spinning a tale to fit, like a spider spinning a web in the middle of a storm, it will never be as it would otherwise but the end result is still entrancing.
    In other words, I loved it.

    • Thanks for your kind praise. It is indeed as you say, story-wise, what is merely hinted at or suggested often has more power that that which is clearly spelled out for the reader. The Gothic artist loves to lurk in the shadows whilst their reader/viewer’s imagination scurries about trying to find clues.

  3. A puzzling but interesting trip into the mind of the Rev H. Have a poem on the desktop of Lindy Lee, which not sure she wrote & afraid to post for fear of non-intended plagiarism. Gotta keep a close watch on forgetfulness.
    It can be a most disconcerting monster…

    • Yep, who know where this stuff comes from or how it got in our brains. I’ve read a LOT of books, not to mention all the movies, tv, plays, conversations etc. My brain is a mass of cultural vermicelli. Sometimes I can tease out a separate thread.

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