LibriVox: Goblin Feet by J.R.R. Tolkien

SFFaudio Online Audio

LibriVoxGoblin Feet
By J.R.R. Tolkien; Read by Kim Stich
1 |MP3| – Approx. 2 Minutes [POETRY]
Publisher: LibriVox.org
Published:
Written in April of 1915. First published in Oxford Poetry 1915.

Goblin Feet
by J.R.R. Tolkien

I AM off down the road
Where the fairy lanterns glowed
And the little pretty flittermice are flying :
A slender band of grey
It runs creepily away
And the hedges and the grasses are a-sighing.
The air is full of wings,
And of blundering beetle-things
That warn you with their whirring and their humming.
O ! I hear the tiny horns
Of enchanted leprechauns
And the padding feet of many gnomes a-coming !

O ! the lights : O ! the gleams : O ! the little tinkly sounds :
O ! the rustle of their noiseless little robes :
O ! the echo of their feet — of their little happy feet :
O ! their swinging lamps in little starlit globes.

I must follow in their train
Down the crooked fairy lane
Where the coney-rabbits long ago have gone,
And where silverly they sing
In a moving moonlit ring
All a-twinkle with the jewels they have on.
They are fading round the turn
Where the glow-worms palely burn

And the echo of their padding feet is dying !
O ! it’s knocking at my heart —
Let me go ! O ! let me start !
For the little magic hours are all a-flying.

O ! the warmth ! O ! the hum ! O ! the colours in the dark !
O ! the gauzy wings of golden honey-flies !
O ! the music of their feet — of their dancing goblin feet !
O ! the magic ! O ! the sorrow when it dies.

More good goblin badness:

Posted by Jesse Willis

The Cremation Of Sam McGee by Robert W. Service

SFFaudio Online Audio

LibriVoxThe Cremation Of Sam McGee
By Robert W. Service; Read by Katie Gibboney
1 |MP3| – Approx. 5 Minutes [POETRY]
Publisher: LibriVox.org
Published: November 30, 2007
First published in in 1907.

The Cremation Of Sam McGee by Robert W. Service

There are strange things done in the midnight sun
By the men who moil for gold;
The Arctic trails have their secret tales
That would make your blood run cold;
The Northern Lights have seen queer sights,
But the queerest they ever did see
Was that night on the marge of Lake Lebarge
I cremated Sam McGee.

Now Sam McGee was from Tennessee, where the cotton blooms and blows.
Why he left his home in the South to roam ’round the Pole, God only knows.
He was always cold, but the land of gold seemed to hold him like a spell;
Though he’d often say in his homely way that he’d “sooner live in hell”.

On a Christmas Day we were mushing our way over the Dawson trail.
Talk of your cold! through the parka’s fold it stabbed like a driven nail.
If our eyes we’d close, then the lashes froze till sometimes we couldn’t see;
It wasn’t much fun, but the only one to whimper was Sam McGee.

And that very night, as we lay packed tight in our robes beneath the snow,
And the dogs were fed, and the stars o’erhead were dancing heel and toe,
He turned to me, and “Cap,” says he, “I’ll cash in this trip, I guess;
And if I do, I’m asking that you won’t refuse my last request.”

Well, he seemed so low that I couldn’t say no; then he says with a sort of moan:
“It’s the cursed cold, and it’s got right hold till I’m chilled clean through to the bone.
Yet ’tain’t being dead — it’s my awful dread of the icy grave that pains;
So I want you to swear that, foul or fair, you’ll cremate my last remains.”

A pal’s last need is a thing to heed, so I swore I would not fail;
And we started on at the streak of dawn; but God! he looked ghastly pale.
He crouched on the sleigh, and he raved all day of his home in Tennessee;
And before nightfall a corpse was all that was left of Sam McGee.

There wasn’t a breath in that land of death, and I hurried, horror-driven,
With a corpse half hid that I couldn’t get rid, because of a promise given;
It was lashed to the sleigh, and it seemed to say: “You may tax your brawn and brains,
But you promised true, and it’s up to you to cremate those last remains.”

Now a promise made is a debt unpaid, and the trail has its own stern code.
In the days to come, though my lips were dumb, in my heart how I cursed that load.
In the long, long night, by the lone firelight, while the huskies, round in a ring,
Howled out their woes to the homeless snows — O God! how I loathed the thing.

And every day that quiet clay seemed to heavy and heavier grow;
And on I went, though the dogs were spent and the grub was getting low;
The trail was bad, and I felt half mad, but I swore I would not give in;
And I’d often sing to the hateful thing, and it hearkened with a grin.

Till I came to the marge of Lake Lebarge, and a derelict there lay;
It was jammed in the ice, but I saw in a trice it was called the “Alice May”.
And I looked at it, and I thought a bit, and I looked at my frozen chum;
Then “Here”, said I, with a sudden cry, “is my cre-ma-tor-eum.”

Some planks I tore from the cabin floor, and I lit the boiler fire;
Some coal I found that was lying around, and I heaped the fuel higher;
The flames just soared, and the furnace roared — such a blaze you seldom see;
And I burrowed a hole in the glowing coal, and I stuffed in Sam McGee.

The Cremation Of Sam McGee by Robert W. Service

Then I made a hike, for I didn’t like to hear him sizzle so;
And the heavens scowled, and the huskies howled, and the wind began to blow.
It was icy cold, but the hot sweat rolled down my cheeks, and I don’t know why;
And the greasy smoke in an inky cloak went streaking down the sky.

I do not know how long in the snow I wrestled with grisly fear;
But the stars came out and they danced about ere again I ventured near;
I was sick with dread, but I bravely said: “I’ll just take a peep inside.
I guess he’s cooked, and it’s time I looked”;. . . then the door I opened wide.

The Cremation Of Sam McGee by Robert W. Service

And there sat Sam, looking cool and calm, in the heart of the furnace roar;
And he wore a smile you could see a mile, and he said: “Please close that door.
It’s fine in here, but I greatly fear you’ll let in the cold and storm —
Since I left Plumtree, down in Tennessee, it’s the first time I’ve been warm.”

There are strange things done in the midnight sun
By the men who moil for gold;
The Arctic trails have their secret tales
That would make your blood run cold;
The Northern Lights have seen queer sights,
But the queerest they ever did see
Was that night on the marge of Lake Lebarge
I cremated Sam McGee.

There is also a solid NPR reading (read by Scott Simon and Daniel Pinkwater) |MP3|

And, NPR also has Johnny Cash’s reading:

[unsigned images from Sense And Feeling edited by R.J. Scott]

Posted by Jesse Willis

LibriVox: If by Rudyard Kipling

SFFaudio Online Audio

I’m not much for poetry. Perhaps that’s because, as a published poet myself, I know just how crappy most poetry really is. Still, there are a few poems that do speak to me. Here’s one, a popular one, from 100 years ago, that I revisited recently.

LIBRIVOX - If by Rudyard KiplingIf
By Rudyard Kipling; Read by Chip
1 |MP3| – Approx. 2 Minutes [POEM]
Publisher: LibriVox.org
Published: January 29, 2006
Described as “a memorable evocation of Victorian stoicism” and the poetic crystalization of the British virtue of keeping a “stiff upper lip.” First published in 1910.

If

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or, being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or, being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise;

If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;
If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with triumph and disaster
And treat those two imposters just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to broken,
And stoop and build ’em up with wornout tools;

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: “Hold on”;

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with kings—nor lose the common touch;
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you;
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run –
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And—which is more—you’ll be a Man my son!
—Rudyard Kipling

And also:

Posted by Jesse Willis

LibriVox: The Spell Of The Yukon by Robert W. Service

SFFaudio Online Audio

I’m not much for either poetry or magic. But some poems are magic. Here’s one…

LIBRIVOX - The Spell Of The Yukon by Robert W. ServiceThe Spell Of The Yukon
By Robert W. Service; Read by Mark F. Smith
1 |MP3| – Approx. 4 Minutes [POEM]
Publisher: LibriVox.org
Published: January 10, 2010

There are another dozen recordings of The Spell Of The Yukon by Robert W. Service available at LibriVox.org. I chose to point you towards Mark F. Smith’s version, but maybe you think another reader captures the poem better.

Here’s my annotated text version (can you spot the Star Trek connection?)…

The Spell Of The Yukon
by Robert W. Service

I wanted the gold, and I sought it,
I scrabbled and mucked like a slave.
Was it famine or scurvy — I fought it;
I hurled my youth into a grave.
I wanted the gold, and I got it —
Came out with a fortune last fall, —
Yet somehow life’s not what I thought it,
And somehow the gold isn’t all.

No! There’s the land. (Have you seen it?)
It’s the cussedest land that I know,
From the big, dizzy mountains that screen it
To the deep, deathlike valleys below.
Some say God was tired when He made it;
Some say it’s a fine land to shun;
Maybe; but there’s some as would trade it
For no land on earth — and I’m one.

You come to get rich (damned good reason);
You feel like an exile at first;
You hate it like hell for a season,
And then you are worse than the worst.
It grips you like some kinds of sinning;
It twists you from foe to a friend;
It seems it’s been since the beginning;
It seems it will be to the end.

I’ve stood in some mighty-mouthed hollow
That’s plumb-full of hush to the brim;
I’ve watched the big, husky sun wallow
In crimson and gold, and grow dim,
Till the moon set the pearly peaks gleaming,
And the stars tumbled out, neck and crop;
And I’ve thought that I surely was dreaming,
With the peace o’ the world piled on top.

The summer — no sweeter was ever;
The sunshiny woods all athrill;
The grayling aleap in the river,
The bighorn asleep on the hill.
The strong life that never knows harness;
The wilds where the caribou call;
The freshness, the freedom, the farness —
O God! how I’m stuck on it all.

The winter! the brightness that blinds you,
The white land locked tight as a drum,
The cold fear that follows and finds you,
The silence that bludgeons you dumb.
The snows that are older than history,
The woods where the weird shadows slant;
The stillness, the moonlight, the mystery,
I’ve bade ’em good-by — but I can’t.

There’s a land where the mountains are nameless,
And the rivers all run God knows where;
There are lives that are erring and aimless,
And deaths that just hang by a hair;
There are hardships that nobody reckons;
There are valleys unpeopled and still;
There’s a land — oh, it beckons and beckons,
And I want to go back — and I will.

They’re making my money diminish;
I’m sick of the taste of champagne.
Thank God! when I’m skinned to a finish
I’ll pike to the Yukon again.
I’ll fight — and you bet it’s no sham-fight;
It’s hell! — but I’ve been there before;
And it’s better than this by a damsite —
So me for the Yukon once more.

There’s gold, and it’s haunting and haunting;
It’s luring me on as of old;
Yet it isn’t the gold that I’m wanting
So much as just finding the gold.
It’s the great, big, broad land ‘way up yonder,
It’s the forests where silence has lease;
It’s the beauty that thrills me with wonder,
It’s the stillness that fills me with peace.

Posted by Jesse Willis

StarShipSofa’s Aural Delights: China Miéville’s ‘Tis The Season +MORE

SFFaudio Online Audio

Photobucket

It’s CHRISTMAS!

And… to celebrate this fine time, the StarShipSofa has decked herself out in holly, tinsel and mistletoe. This week sees her Christmas Special and what better way to enjoy this festive season with some grand and festive stories, all accompanied by a great looking cove by science fiction artist Skeet Scienski.

Click here to listen to the full Aural Delights No 56 China Miéville mp3

Editorial: Tony C Smith

Flash Fiction: A Christmas Tale by Davis Kopaska-Merkel

Flash Fiction: Robowassailing by Allen Steele

Fact: Sofa Art by Skeet

Main Fiction: ‘Tis The Season by China Miéville

Narrators: Diane Severson, MCL, Amy H Sturgis  

Subscribe to the podcast via this feed:

http://www.starshipsofa.com/rss

Posted by Tony C. Smith