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Poem of Mars
Well, they talk o' gin and beer, when you're quartered way out here,
Or so Kipling said and wrote of Gunga Din,
But his Mowgli though quite good, never in the forest stood,
Half as tall as Burroughs' Tarzan's always been,
Nor did he have any room, for
a place like vast Barsoom
In his poems or his stories, though they're fine,
So I'll take my ERB, stories made for you and me,
And I'll sit and read and dream and make them mine.
Though I like the ape-man best,
and he'll pass most any test,
Still, I'll not forget my meeting with JC,
When I read Princess of Mars, I could almost feel the stars,
Coming down and through these words, taking me.
I'll recall always that cover,
many times I've turned if over,
With his sword and stance and flashy skirt of red,
And the purplish-clad princess, she was clearly in distress,
And so beautiful, incomparable, it's said,
So I then began to read, and
Spurred me on and pretty soon, I was so taken,
To that wondrous Martian place, far from Earth and time and space,
And his words yet once again had left me shaken.
He had found his princess fair,
in that place oh way up there,
But surrounded by the Tharks, he had to fight,
For his princess and his honor, I thought he'd soon be a goner,
But we knew that in the end he'd be all right.
Dejah spoke and left us breathless,
and her beauty it was deathless,
And he loved her, though he fumbled with her heart,
But she smiled that little smile, and we knew that in a while,
She'd be his and she would rather die than part.
Still he let her then get lost,
and we knew what this would cost,
For Barsoom is full of wilderness and danger,
And he'd have to search and grope, and not ever give up hope,
Though he'd come there as an enemy and stranger.
But he made some cherished friends,
and he'd hoped to make amends,
For whatever hurt he'd caused his princess fair,
So he took up that damn sword, and pretty soon he'd quickly gored,
More than one green chieftain who would take his dare,
Though he certainly was
brave, I recall he fled that cave,
Pretty quickly when those sounds were back there rustling,
But those qualms and fears were gone, and we'd now see hero John,
Ever after whip those bad guys with his hustling.
He could jump and leap and whirl,
when he'd fight for his brave girl,
Fifty feet was nothing new for Captain Carter,
Though in matters of his love, he could surely use a shove,
And we wondered if he'd ever get much smarter.
Well he rose up in the ranks,
and Tars Tarkas gave his thanks,
And he found a friend in Woola for his life,
But still Dejah did he miss, and he hadn't felt her kiss,
And we wondered if she'd ever be his wife.
So he gathered hordes of allies
and they made ferocious sallies,
And Zodanga finally fell to his wild plan,
By his boldness she was saved and those dangers that he'd braved,
She was every inch a Princess for her man.
Many were the days they'd share,
till they ran clean out of air,
And he then remembered seven little sounds,
So he took off, never fear; through the thinning atmosphere,
But he ended up once more in Earthly bounds,
So this tale was at an end, but
still messages he'd send,
When he got back to Barsoom some future day,
Then perhaps he'd meet some Gods, and I wouldn't lay big odds,
That he won't prevail no matter what the fray.
Well, I'd now met ERB, Dejah
and that brave JC,
And I'd met my savage Tarzan and quick Bara,
But I'd not realized just yet, quite what I was still to get,
For a few books later I would meet my Tara.
Edgar Rice Burroughs
Robert Alan Woodley
Edgar Allen Poe
Once upon a day so dreary, I
was in a store, so weary,
Fifteen years I was and pondering quaint and curious books and lore,
Suddenly I saw a cover, a man and lion fighting over
Life and Death and who knows what, but I was changed forevermore.
I'd met a writer and a man whom I would love forevermore,
Tarzan Triumphant; nothing more.
Ah, distinctly I remember, though
it wasn't bleak December,
Oh the blues and greens and tawny colors that ACE cover wore!
Eagerly I bought that book, while something deep inside me shook,
And somehow I would take a look at something never seen before,
The waves of wonder now would wash upon imagination's shore.
I took it home, to read some more.
And the savage man and certain
pain when his foes started hurtin'
Thrilled me, filled me with fantastic feelings never felt before.
So that than, and feeling strong the beating of my heart, and reeling,
More and more I kept on reading till the pages were no more,
I was stunned and moved and knew that this was what reading was for,
I'd met the ape-man. I'd want more.
Presently my need grew stronger,
Invincible would wait no longer,
Back I went and bought that second book from my childhood drugstore,
Took it home and started reading, still I haven't stopped the bleeding,
Krenkel and Frazetta drew me to the ape-man's jungle lore,
I'd soon be captured by these books and never leave forevermore,
ERB and blood and gore.
Deep into the stories peering,
long I wondered, hoping, fearing,
Doubting, dreaming, wondering if this author ever wrote some more,
But the shelves had no more books no matter what my eager looks,
And so I waited and I watched and hoped one day I'd see find some more.
Nothing I had read had ever touched me like this ape-man lore,
I'd only opened one small door.
Back into the store and turning
round I'd hunt with eyes so burning,
Soon again I saw another; Ballantine had published more!
"Surely", said I "Surely that is something I had only dreamed of,
Let me see then what the treat is, let me ERB explore,
Let my heart be still a moment, and this Burroughs man explore",
The ape-man had begun his roar.
Open then I flung those pages,
when, with teenage reader rages,
Tarzan of the Apes entered my life, and I need say no more,
Not the least obeisance made he, not a minute stopped or stayed he,
Rather all my life he's made me know that he's forevermore,
Crouched upon a leafy branch his loneliness seemed evermore,
A girl can open feeling's door.
Then the ebony shaft flying,
soon my ape-man would be crying,
Kala's grave he'd see and mother's love the ape-man knew no more,
"Though her life is torn forever," he said, " I will forgive, never,"
Ghastly, Grim and terrible, he prowled nightly killing many more,
His lordly name did terror bring in blackest nights, through any door,
He'd sworn to kill, forevermore.
Much I marveled this creation,
what a reading celebration;
Though it's jungle little meaning, little relevancy bore,
For we cannot help agreeing that no living human being,
Ever yet was blessed with powers, none could like the ape-man soar,
Not a man, but savage beast, was sculpted by ERB's score,
I saw that there were twenty-four!
But the ape-man, sitting lonely
on that swaying branch, spoke only,
To the beasts, as if his soul in that one language did outpour,
Nothing English, then he uttered, the ape-man's words were sometimes stuttered,
Till he scarcely more than muttered, "I have no friends to go before,
On the morrow she will leave me, as my hopes have flown before".
Man is who a woman's for.
Startled at the stillness taken
he had seen her and was shaken,
"Doubtless," he said" She will love another and we'll be no more,"
Caught with some unworthy Clayton, is this some grand plan of Satan?
Followed fast and followed faster, till the jungle told the score,
Till the dirges of his hope that melancholy burden bore,
Loving her; she loved him more.
But the maiden still beguiling
all his fancy into smiling,
Straight she whirled a cushioned seat upon the leafy forest floor,
Then upon the grasses sinking, she was of the ape-man thinking,
"Man or Beast", she cried, "I'm yours!" and knew she'd never love one more,
For that grim and savage man, her Forest God, her heart did pour,
She would love him evermore.
Thus I sat engaged in guessing,
for her love was not expressing,
To her man, whose fiery eyes had burned into her bosom's core,
This and more she sat divining, with her head at ease reclining,
On those fragrant jungle grasses that the sunlight gloated o'er,
But whose fragrant fearful grasses with the sunlight gloating o'er,
She shall press, ah, nevermore!
Then, she thought, the air
grew denser, perfumed from an unseen censer,
Swung by memories whose images the girl had seen before,
"Beast!" She cried, "Thy God had lent thee--- by these angels He hath sent thee,
Respite ----- respite and save me from being taken from this savage shore,
Quaff, oh Quaff this love of mine, I'll not forget this savage shore",
Down her soft cheeks, tears did pour.
"Ape-man!" thought I, "This is
evil! Ape-man, still if Jungle Devil!
Whether tempter sent, or whether tempest tossed there here ashore,
Desolate, yet all undaunted, in this jungle land enchanted,
On your home by horror daunted, tell me truly, I implore,
Is there, is there love for you and Jane on this far distant shore?"
But D'Arnot needed ape-man lore,
"Ape-man!" said I, "This is evil!
Ape-man still, if Jungle Devil!
By that Heaven that bends above us---by that God we both adore,
Tell this soul with sorrow laden, don't forsake this lovely maiden,
Her love never, ever fading, for an angel can't love more,
Clasp this rare and radiant maiden, keep her with you on this shore!"
But the ape-man heard no more.
"But no words you'll soon be
parting, Man or Beast she'll soon be starting,
Get thee back into love's tempest and the night's plutonium shore,
Leave no black plume as a token of the lie they soul hath spoken,
Leave your loneliness unbroken---leave and hasten to her door,
Take the stake from out your heart, and take thy form fast to her door."
He said his father was no more.
And the ape-man, never fitting,
still is sitting, still is sitting,
On a leafy jungle branch, just above fresh Bara's spoor,
And his eyes have all the seeming of a demon's that is dreaming,
And the light of Goro streaming throws the shadow on the floor,
And my soul from that shadow floating on the forest floor,
Shall be lifted, nevermore.
The Tawny Haired Barbarian
Lands of Adventure
is found at
The List With No Rules
is found at
ERBzine 0099 TARAK'S FARSIDE CHAT: Disney Tarzan Preview Review
ERBzine 0137Tarzan and the Forbidden City Review
ERBzine 0191 DD99: Thanks for the Memories by Tarak
ERBzine 0418 Tarak and the Jewels of Louisville
ERBzine 0419 Tarak and a Princess of Stories
ERBzine 0420 Tarzan of the Apes in All-Story pulp magazine
ERBzine 0316 Tarak Poetry in Motes & Quotes
ERBzine 0060: The First Time
ERBzine 0685 Tarzan of the Apes: A Personal Journey Through 24 Volumes
ERBzine 0708: Tarak's ERB in Verse
ERBzine 0709: Kipling and ERB
ERBzine 0710: The Mucker: An ERBapa Reprint
ERBzine0707: Dum and Dummer 2002
The Worlds of Edgar Rice Burroughs
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