Far beyond Utnar Vehi, far beyond
The Hills of Hap,
Sits the great Emperor crowned with diamond,
Twitching the rosary in his lap —
The rosary whose every head well-conned
With sleek unblinking bliss
Was once the eyeball of an unborn child of his.
He drank the smell of living blood, that hissed
On flame-white steel.
He tittered while his mother’s limbs were kissed
By the fish-hooks on the Wheel
That shredded soul and shape, more fine than mist
Is torn by the bleak wind
That blows from Kragua and the unknown lands behind.
As the last flesh was flicked, he wearied; slaves
From bright Bethmoora
Sprang forward with carved bowls whose crimson craves
Green wine of hashish, black wine of datura,
Like the Yann’s earlier and its latter waves!
These wines soothed well the spleen
Of the Desert’s bastard brother Thuba Mleen.
He drank, and eyed the slaves. “Mwass, Dragicho,
Saddle your mules!” he whispered, “ride full slow
And bid the people of the city know
That that most ancient snake,
The Crone of Utnar Vehi, is awake.”
Thus twisted he his dagger in the hearts
Of those two slaves
That bore him wine; for they knew well the arts
Of Utnar Vehi—what the grey crone craves —
Knew how their kindred in the vines and marts
Of bright Bethmoora, thus accurst,
Would rush to the mercy of the Desert’s thirst.
I would that Mana-Yood-Sushai would lean
And listen, and hear
The tittering, thin-bearded, epicene
Dwarf, fringed with fear,
Of the Desert’s bastard brother Thuba Mleen!
For he would wake, and scream
Aloud the Word to annihilate the dream.