Saturday, July 28, 2018


Read "Death" at the Eldritch Dark:

In an earlier post on this blog, I looked at a poem by Clark Ashton Smith (CAS) called "Reincarnation" which suggested a certain defiance of death.  

And now with this poem "Death" we essentially re-visit the same notion, but this time with a focus on nature's cycles of renewal:

But from of old
Hath not the tree new leaves put forth?

CAS presents the idea that Death is not something to be feared, since the end of an existence is part of something larger enduring beyond the span of any one life.  He invokes the cycle of the seasons in a really wonderful passage:

So may
The soul fresh forms assume another day;
Thus testifies the miracle of spring,
Wherewith the leafless brumal world is rife.

I like the directness of the title "Death", which right up front suggests a certain morbidity, which the author then defies with his appreciation for the phenomenon of Life as a whole:

Who can the bare earth's time of blossoming
Behold, and say Death is the end of Life?

From what I know of CAS' biography, it seems that he was not a religious man, but his oft-mentioned cosmic outlook implies a spirituality unencumbered by the artifice of religion. In my quest to see what the poems can teach me about the writer's philosophy, I feel like I am starting to make some progress.

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