Friday, January 17, 2020

The Love-Potion

Read "The Love-Potion" at The Eldritch Dark:

Reading this short poem from Clark Ashton Smith (CAS) makes me sad that CAS apparently never completed "The Fugitives", the proposed drama of which "The Love-Potion" was to be only one piece.

Considering that "The Love-Potion" is a mere twelve lines of seven syllables each, the scenario presented is rich with both image and narrative, and CAS' masterful poetic technique is in evidence right from the opening lines:

Sluggish drops of sullen balm;
Blood-red wine from fruits of bane,
Subtly mixed with polar snows

The alternating internal rhymes on the letters "s" and "b" in those introductory lines roll off of the tongue with an inherent sonority that propels the reader to the poem's finale built around "the languishing / Of a queen" (which itself is a gorgeous phrase).

For me as a reader, "The Love-Potion" is basically a perfect poem, built with a beautifully musical technique and rich with images and ideas that stimulate multiple senses.  This is my reward for carefully reading through the complete poetic works of CAS: encountering works of art like "The Love-Potion" that exemplify what is possible in the medium of poetry.

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