Read "Lament of the Stars" at The Eldritch Dark:
I've sometimes found longer poems by Clark Ashton Smith (CAS) somewhat difficult to warm to, with notable exceptions such as "Nero". Unfortunately, my reaction to "Lament of the Stars" reflects my readings of longer poems like "Ode to the Abyss" and "Ode to Music" each of which lacked an essential focus, something that I believe is so critical to a successful poem.
In this particular work, CAS does start things off with a strong opening stanza rich with references to music and dance, which animates the verse and propels the reader forward. But in following stanzas, the notions introduced at the beginning aren't really developed, and there is even some awkward writing (very uncommon for CAS) such as the strained couplet "All darker forms, and dubious forms, or pallid, / Are met and reconciled where none is valid."
While "Lament of the Stars" was included in CAS' debut collection of published poetry, it is notable that he chose not to include it in his Selected Poems (1971). Thematically speaking, this poem is quite similar to other verses from the same author, and he handled the subject matter much better elsewhere, so I'm not totally surprised that this item did not make the cut when he assembled the Selected Poems.
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