Friday, August 3, 2018


Read "Imagination" at The Eldritch Dark:

So now I arrive at the first long poem among Clark Ashton Smith's (CAS) early works.  As with other CAS verses that I have discussed so far, this was never published during his lifetime, but was included in The Last Oblivion published in 2002 by the Hippocampus Press.

The sweeping scope of the journey described in this poem definitely seems like a precursor to what is probably CAS' most widely known poem, "The Hashish-Eater; or, The Apocalypse of Evil".  That poem is on a whole other level from "Imagination", but both works describe a fantastic journey.

I am reminded of John Keats' "The Poet" (aka "Where’s The Poet?"):

‘Tis the man who with a bird,
Wren or Eagle, finds his way to
All its instincts

Keats' poem is more concise and more limited in scope than CAS' "Imagination", but both works extol the powers of the poetic imagination, and CAS does it with some striking imagery:

The ocean yields its secrets unto thee:
Far down beneath the agitated wave,
Where winds stir not the anger of the sea,
Thou plungest to some Nereid’s emerald cave,
Whose floors the varied shells of ocean pave.

One could argue that "Imagination" is overly long, and the author's powers seem to wane in the final verses, but as with the quote immediately above, "Imagination" includes some evocative lines that demonstrate the budding talent of the young CAS.

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