John Martin has once again, to the joy and admiration of his fellow fans of the works of Edgar Rice Burroughs (1875-1950), produced a poem that channels past greats of poetry or lyrics to create something that speaks of the original in a new way that embraces the characters and worlds created by Burroughs. Hats doffed—and full respect delivered!
The author provided a panel scan from a Joe Kubert Tarzan comic which Tangor Tortured Into A Title Image.
The Ballad of
John "Bridge" Martin
Copyright ... years ago, this revised version © 2020
(With apologies to Samuel Taylor Coleridge*)
In Africa did Tublat-Zan
A shelter build in Dum-Dum land,
Where gom-lul's sacred waters ran
Through forests measureless to man
Down to a sparkling sea.
So in the nest of quiet ground
With walls of jungle girdled round
To garden bright he brought the she
Where blossom'd many a perfumed tree,
Amidst the forest betwixt the hills,
Enfolding sunny spots of greenery.
But O! That secret place of romance,
Brought echoes of another rite: the dance.
A savage place! Unholy, enchanted
As a'er beneath a blazing moon was haunted
By the shadows of mangani shapes.
As they danced, with ceaseless turmoil seething,
In fast thick gasps were breathing,
A mighty foe lay lifeless, its form
To suffer bursts of fury.
Huge fragments torn by hairy grasps,
To feel the grain of thresher's jaws,
And 'mid these dancing hulks at once and ever,
Its flesh did nourish as the sacred river.
But from this place of tumult Tublat-Zan heard call
The voices from another world unknown!
Anon there was a miracle of chance:
A sheltered pleasure dome where now,
A damsel with her tresses gold
More than any vision seen did rest.
Unless you are a scholar of Edgar Rice Burroughs, his life and works, you may not be aware that "Tublat-Zan" was Burroughs' first impulse for naming the "Tarzan" character in the original handwritten manuscript for Tarzan of the Apes (1912).
If you wish to compare "The Ballad of Tublat-Zan" with Coleridge's "Kubla Khan", click here.
She was a shining, loving maid,
And on his heart this vision played,
Turning beast to man.
Thus kindled deep within him
Her symphony and song,
Caused deep delight to win him,
With her music loud and long.
He would build a dome for her!
A sunny dome! A great estate!
And all who heard should see them there!
And all should cry, Beware! Beware!
His keen grey eyes! His floating hair!
She weaved her arms around his frame,
And closed her eyes with holy dread!
As he then through the branches sped
No more would gom-lul satisfy; he'd
Tasted milk of Paradise.
* Samuel Taylor Coleridge — 21 October 1772 – 25 July 1834), English poet, literary critic, philosopher and theologian, a founder of the Romantic Movement. He wrote the poems The Rime of the Ancient Mariner and Kubla Khan. His critical work, especially on William Shakespeare, was highly influential. Coleridge coined many familiar words and phrases, including suspension of disbelief.
He was physically unhealthy, perhaps from rheumatic fever and other childhood illnesses. He was treated with laudanum, which fostered a lifelong opium addiction.
—Condensed from Source: Wikipedia