Tuesday, August 14, 2018


Read "Weavings" at The Eldritch Dark:


There's a lot of poetic magic at work in this early item from the young Clark Ashton Smith (CAS).  What draws me in right away is the heavy use of repeated line endings, where the "a" words in the ababab rhyme scheme are essentially the same: in the first stanza, we have "forever", "ever", and "ever", and in the second stanza "risen" is repeated three times.

It's worth noting that the word "woven" is also repeated, once in each stanza, echoing the poem's title and reinforcing the strongest visual image in the poem: "Endless gossamers of rain".

It seems to me that CAS is describing a gentle rainfall in the first stanza, where the variations of the word "ever" suggest the feeling that the rainfall seems as though it will never end.

Things turn around in the second stanza, where it appears that the rain shower has ended, and the "sunset-beam" is dominant once again.  But the repeated use of the word "risen" at alternate line endings brings us to the wonderful final line: "From world and sky to the heart of a dream."  

For me as a reader, this is where the poetic magic comes in, as CAS builds a cadence on the word "risen".  Up until the final two lines of the poem, we've been reading a nature study, but those last two lines suddenly bring the author himself into the picture:

And, lo! my unquiet soul has risen
          From world and sky to the heart of a dream.

That's a transcendent image, as the poet allows the "weavings" of the natural world around him to lift his spirit up to another place.  

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