I have to admit on this one, I wasn’t sure while reading through if these was some knowledge I needed to prepossess to understand what was going on here. I eventually went seeking some more information to see if my initial impressions were correct or if, in fact, I had some ignorance to the material Lovecraft was writing about. I’ll describe what my first impressions were and then talk about what I could find in a cursory search.
This is a very Poe’esque poem. Reminiscent of “Annabelle Lee” in it’s lyrical qualities and repetition; also in congruence with it’s macabre nature. We begin by viewing a purely Lovecraftian landscape, a very Romanesque place called Zais. There the narrator, through the mists of Yabon (the moon?), he sees the horrible beauty of Nathicana. This woman (Goddess?) is someone he is obsessed with, and strives to find her again, but soon comes the dreaded season of Dzannin (the sun?), that interferes, with it’s red light, the dreams where the narrator can see Nathicana. So he develops a “draught” that once he takes he can escape life and rejoin the “divine” Nathicana.
Seems fairly straight forward, the narrator sees a Goddess in his dreams and he can’t get back to her because his dreams are interfered with, so he drinks poison, to go beyond life and back into the realm of dreams to get back into the graces of his Goddess.
What I was confused about was the nomenclature. It may have been because I hadn’t read much Lovecraft before this project, but I hadn’t heard Dzannin, nor Yabon, Nor Nathicana for that matter. So I did a bit of searching on the old interwebs.
The most interesting quote I came across was in a letter that Lovecraft sent to Donald Wandrei. In it Lovecraft told Wandrei that the poem was a “parody on those stylistic excesses which really have no basic meaning.”
How very David Lynch of him.
I stick with my original feeling about the poem. Now while I am a bit underwhelmed by the poem, it does fit within this beginning time frame where his style is developing and transmogrifying into one of the Cthulhu Mythos and that of the Dreamlands.
Join me next week for a blind read through of “From Beyond”.