Wednesday, October 30, 2019


This poem from Clark Ashton Smith (CAS) was unpublished in his lifetime, and not available on The Eldritch Dark, so here's the complete text:

Fronting the sunset's molten sea
          The pines rear sombre, motionless,
As if to watch those splendid tides
          Ebb westward past their ken or guess.

Sharply they cleave the breathless air
          Each tree a poignant silhouette.
Black outposts of the night they seem
          Athwart the dying daylight set.

Here we have another simple nature study from CAS, and once again it's remarkable that this poet so strongly associated with the cosmic and the weird is able to bring an authentic voice to a very different subject.  

Internal rhyme is the key to the steady pace of "Silhouette", particularly in the first two lines, where "m" and "s" sounds are carefully interweaved:

Fronting the sunset's molten sea
          The pines rear sombre, motionless

This makes for another case where I'm surprised that CAS chose to not publish this poem - it works wonderfully when read aloud, and the simple image captured in these lines is done so with just the right note of solemnity.

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