Saturday, July 6, 2019

The Nameless Wraith

Read "The Nameless Wraith" at The Eldritch Dark:

This poem from Clark Ashton Smith (CAS) was apparently written early in his career, but not published until close to the end of his life in the collection Spells and Philtres (1958).

What captures my attention in these lines is CAS' use of adjectives and adverbs emphasizing vagueness, loss, and mystery, beginning with "Nameless" in the title itself.  Other such word choices in the poem are:

  • ineffably
  • strange
  • hueless
  • immemorial
  • Doubtfully
  • unvisioned
  • unsounding

Having re-read the poem several times, I find this over-reliance on word modifiers to establish the mood of the work to be somewhat distracting, since it comes at the expense of the more vigorous nouns and verbs that are CAS' more usual stock-in-trade.  Of course, the title lets the reader know immediately that something nebulous is afoot, but CAS covers similar thematic territory in other works with more finesse.

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