The Seven Sorrows of Shub-Niggurath

Of the poems I’ve labeled “Aeonist Poems” here, this one is perhaps the most explicitly a reference to Ruthanna Emrys’s Innsmouth Legacy books, though it is also about paleontology, human history, and a syncretism with the Catholic devotion of Our Lady of Sorrows. For relevant context here, it is important to note that in Deep Roots, the second of the Innsmouth Legacy novels, it is revealed that, after creating the first life, Shub-Niggurath noted that “It will not last but, for now, it is good,” and that we our told that she is the “Mother of Fear” because having children gives you so many things to fear happening to them.

“The Seven Sorrows of Shub-Niggurath”
15 September 2020, in Hyattsville, Maryland

Blessed Mother, piercèd with fear,
You who have born a thousand young:
We, Your children, all doomed to die,
sing to console You and praise You!

We mourn with You for never-born
elder siblings who might have been:
The Paleozoic’s children,
cut off before they could grow minds.

We weep and wonder at the doom
that came to the archosaur host:
Your children whose death gave us a
chance to be born and grow and thrive.

We feel your sorrow as we learn
of hominid lines that died out,
even as we prospered and spread
and may have aided in their deaths.

We lament the worlds swept away,
whole nations lost to plague and sword:
We know our world was birthed in blood,
and pray such dooms not come again.

We grieve the daily suffering
that burns away too many lives,
and work to build a better world,
that loss and pain may be redeemed.

We know our kind must someday die,
even as we struggle to live:
We pray our younger siblings may
know we lived, and remember us.

Though all your children, like the Gods,
must someday fall to Entropy,
We praise you for this doomèd world,
which you have grown and washed with tears.

We thank you for this chance to live,
and pray you found us a blessing:
For though we know we will not last,
we hope life’s balance will be good.