Thursday, October 3, 2019

Twilight on the Snow

Read "Twilight on the Snow" at The Eldritch Dark:

This poem from Clark Ashton Smith (CAS) reminds me of another of his poems that I read just a few days ago: "The Melancholy Pool."  In that poem, CAS associated cypress trees with "the priesthood of the Night's misrule," and here in "Twilight on the Snow," we read that "The trees are Druids, weird and white."  While those lines do not entirely capture the essence of either poem, they do help to set the respective scenes effectively, painting an image of ancient trees as holders of mystical secrets.

"Twilight on the Snow" is especially effective in its handling of auditory phenomena, and each of the three stanzas includes phrases that reinforce the central idea of lonely stillness:

  • First stanza: "ancient lips to silence vowed."
  • Second stanza: "No certain sound the woods aver"
  • Third stanza: "Unseen, unheard, amid the dell"

Elsewhere the poem traffics much in sorcery and the lurking presence of the uncanny, and  those reminders of the lack of sound enhance the poem's suggestion of great powers unseen. 

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