A Visit from Cthulhu – A Holiday Poem

‘Twas the night before Saturnalia, when all through Arkham

Not a sane person was stirring, not even a cop;

The pentagrams were drawn by the doors with such care,

In hopes that Cthulhu soon would be there;

The cultists were dancing all wild in the alleys;

While visions of chaos danced in their heads;

And Lovecraft with his books, and I in my pjs,

Had just settled our brains for a long winter’s nap,

When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,

I sprang from my bed to see what was the matter.

Away to the window I flew like a flash,

Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.

The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow,

Gave a lustre of crimson to the blood spilled below,

When what to my wondering eyes did appear,

But a parade of cultists and a rising black tide,

With a cyclopean silhouette so eldritch and wild,

I knew it was Cthulhu, making his entrance in style.

More rapid than eagles his cultists they came,

And they shrieked, and shrilled, and called him by name:

“Iä, dreamer! now, destroyer! once asleep and now risen!

Iä, Great One! Iä, Old One! Iä, no longer dead Cthulhu!

To the top of the ocean! to the top of the world!

Now dash it all away! Drive us all insane! And revel, revel, revel!”

As debris that before the wild flood tumble,

When they meet with an obstacle, smash to splinters by the force;

So up against the houses and walls the cultists they died

With the screams of the damned, and cries of jubilation too—

And then, in a crash, I heard on the roof

The pitter and patter of the tsunami spray.

As I drew in my head, and was turning around,

Down the chimney dark waters came with a bound.

Doused in the foul liquid, from my head to my foot,

And my clothes were all tarnished with slime and soot;

Against the open window, I was flung on my back,

And for a moment, I thought I could pull myself back.

The water—how it stank! Its flavour, how rancid!

I was pushed through the window, falling out into the water so foetid!

My own little mouth was filled with the brackish sea,

And before I struggled to the surface, I thought it would be the end of me;

The start of a scream I held tight in my teeth,

As I was tossed about the flooded city on the currents;

And Cthulhu himself rose above my sweet city,

His tentacles shook when he howled, like a bowl full of jelly.

He was as tall as a mountain, a right proper dark God,

And I screamed when I saw him, in spite of myself;

A twist of his black eye and a tilt of his head

Soon gave me to know I had everything to dread;

He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,

He squeezed his gelatinous body through the streets where I lay,

And lowering his hand down towards me,

And opening his mouth, plucked me from his frothing black sea;

He pulled me up through the air, I could now smell his queer scent,

And when I could see down his infinite throat, I knew what it meant.

But I heard myself scream, ere I disappeared from sight—

“I may be the first, but by God I won’t be the last tonight!”


Happy Holidays, readers! May your night be filled with cheer and sanity!

*Source: “A Visit from St. Nicholas”, by Clement Clarke Moore, The Random House Book of Poetry for Children (Random House Inc., 1983)

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