Read "Winter Moonlight" at The Eldritch Dark:
Having read a couple hundred early poems by Clark Ashton Smith (CAS) over the last year, I find myself increasingly enthralled by his simple nature poems, which are quite a contrast to his better-known verses from the realms of the cosmic and the supernatural. I don't in any way dislike his work in those latter categories, but the nature studies reveal a more personal side of the poet that I find very appealing.
And in that vein, we have "Winter Moonlight". First things first - there is a significant typo in the version of this poem at The Eldritch Dark, so here's the corrected first stanza, with the corrected word noted in bold:
The silence of the silver night
Lies visibly upon the pines;
In marble flame the moon declines
Where spectral mountains dream in light.
The phrase "marble flame" is both visually rich and much more intelligible than "marble tame"!
However, what I enjoy most about "Winter Moonlight" is the closing stanza:
Carven of steel or fretted stone,
One stark and leafless autumn tree
With shadows made of ebony
Leans on the moon-ward field alone.
That image of a single pine tree casting a shadow on a moonlit field is crystalline and indelible, so much so that I can almost believe that what I picture while reading the poem is exactly what CAS sought to capture in writing it.
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