Monday, October 14, 2019


Read "Quest" at The Eldritch Dark:

This poem from Clark Ashton Smith (CAS) features shorter lines than is typical for his poetry, using a more-or-less ballad form.  This gives the poem a reading that is closer to a song form than one typically finds in CAS' work, and in this particular case, the results don't seem very successful to me.  There are some strong passages, such as the following:

Where the twisted willows lean
In their strange, tormented woe,
Seeing, on the streamlet's flow,
Half their fragile leaves depart

However, taken as a whole, the poem has an insubstantial feel, as though this were not a work that CAS put much effort into.  

"Quest" did apparently see a couple of publications in periodicals shortly after it was written, and one of these appearances was in CAS' hometown newspaper, the Auburn Journal.  I can't help wondering if CAS intentionally gave the local broadsheet one of his less personal poems, something that he thought might have appeal to a broader audience not familiar with his work.

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