Friday, October 11, 2013

The Gray Mouser, One and Two

The Gray Mouser : 1

The city lifts black roof-shields toward the stars
And shuts the jungle out with mortised stones
And seals the scent of flowers in glass jars
And locks Earth’s secrets up in brass-clasped tomes
No satyr may live there, no faun survive
The stench and clangor of each crowded street.
The white-fanged beasts of night cannot contrive
To gnaw an entrance through its black concrete.

Yet ‘mongst the gargoyles on the slated roofs
One gray-masked face peers down with living  grin
That mocks the scurry of the city’s floor.
Two gray-gloved hands tease ope’ the library’s door
And break the ponderous books and scribble in
Footnotes that give the lie to all proud proofs.
                                                                                                                         Fritz Leiber 

The Gray Mouser : 2

Soft-sandaled feet press lightly on the stones
That cobble Lankhmar’s mazy alleyways;
A grayish cloak melts in the river mist
That billowing with many a darting twist
Fumes round the corner from the nighted bays
To chill with sorcery men’s blood and bones;
Only a bat whose sharp ears caught one sound
Knows that the Mouser is on business bound.

A jewel from Quarmall or a girl from Kled,
A caravel said to be docking soon,
A rune that Sheelba magicked from the dead,
Or a dread whisper from beyond the moon
What man can name the thing the Mouser seeks
Or read the smile that links his sallow cheeks?

-                                                                                                                             Fritz Leiber

    Both included in the White Wolf edition of Ill Met in Lankhmar. 

Il    Illustrations by Mike Mignola

            God bless Fritz Leiber.