Wednesday, July 17, 2019

The City in the Desert

Read "The City in the Desert" at The Eldritch Dark:

A note accompanying this poem from Clark Ashton Smith states:

These lines were remembered out of a dream, and are given verbatim.

Taking the poet at his word, it's remarkable that such a complete work would flow directly from the experience of a dream, but on the other hand, there are some technical faults with these lines that make it easier to believe the origin story as given.

Even more remarkable is that the young CAS could dream lines with obscure words like "anademe", "damassin", and "madreperl", none of which my Shorter Oxford English Dictionary will make peace with.

And yet, this is still a great poem.  Gorgeous phrases like "Among horizons bright as molten brass, / And glowing heavens like furnaces of glass," you don't find just anywhere, and CAS' habitual tropes of the desert, Titans, etc lose none of their poetic power, despite their familiarity.

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