Saturday, August 11, 2018

The Altars of Sunset

This is another poem unpublished during Clark Ashton Smith's (CAS) lifetime, so let's start with the text itself:

With crimson fires you mountains flame--

          Huge, lofty altars of the West--
As sunset, hesitating, stays
          To dip in light each slope and crest. 
Each summit holds the vivid blaze
          Till all are burning in array,
As if some priesthood there had lit
          A sacrifice to passing Day.

A pretty straightforward poem, but I like the way the simple image of a sunset is transformed into a priestly ritual involving a sacrificial pyre.  CAS' modern reputation casts him as a fantastic poet, and this poem seems like an early sign of such affinities.

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