Saturday, August 17, 2019

The Exile

Read "The Exile" at The Eldritch Dark:

This poem from Clark Ashton Smith (CAS) combines the cosmic scope of his imagination with the experience of romantic rejection, a mixture that sounds awkward but works wonderfully in the hands of such a talented poet.

Although this poem presents a lovelorn narrator seeking to "lose this ever-aching loneliness", the gloomy diction of the opening stanza ("Desolate oceans", "Dead moons", "lonely plains") is not a constant; by the time we get to the final quatrain, the mood has shifted:

Faring to seek with alien sun and alien star
The strange, the veiled horizons infinite and far;
Spaces of fire and night, the skies of steel and gold,
Or sunset-haunted seas where foamless islands are.

In these closing lines, there is no mention of romantic disappointment, as the speaker envisions all the incredible things he may experience as he turns away from a failed human bond.  Thus we get an unexpected uplift, as the romance of "the veiled horizons infinite and far" becomes a new obsession and cause for celebration.

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