REH Word of the Week: kraken Essay

noun

  1. legendary Scandinavian sea monster

[origin: 1755; Norwegian dial.]

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HOWARD’S USAGE:

Were there figures unnamed in the seas of the West?
Were there scale-crusted dragons that rend Viking ships?
Were there ocean-fiends riding the dark billow’s crest
Or icy sea-women with death on their lips?

“Bare stretch the seas to the set of the sun;
“No mermaid or kraken opposes the keel—
“Of the lies of the women and priests are they spun—
“To naked winds only the blue billows reel.

[from "The Return of the Sea-Farer”; for the complete poem see The Collected Poetry of Robert E. Howard, p. 64]