This poem from Clark Ashton Smith (CAS) was unpublished in his lifetime, and is not available on The Eldritch Dark, so here is the complete text:
On all the golden gramaries of our days,
The editors of the Hippocampus Press edition of The Complete Poetry and Translations of Clark Ashton Smith speculate that this sonnet was intended to be part of The Hill of Dionysus cycle, given that it addresses CAS' relationship with the poet Eric Barker and the dancer Madelynne Greene. However, it was not included in the 1962 selection from that cycle published by Roy Squires and Clyde Beck.
As a paean to his friendship with Barker and Greene, "Consummation" has an epic sweep, and given the title, I can't help but wonder if CAS created this poem as something of a coda to The Hill of Dionysus cycle, even if it was left out of the published edition issued shortly after his death.
I love that the speaker imagines a sort of immorality for the friendship that informs this poem:
That shall illume the future's legendry,
Till poets, crowned with late, hesperian bays,
Shall chant for us their elegies and lays
One could argue that in a small way, that has indeed occurred, although perhaps not in the way that CAS envisioned. Recently there has been some discussion on The Eldritch Dark forums about the notion that CAS was a misanthrope, an idea advanced by Steve Behrends in an essay from some years ago. I think Behrends is wrong, and the evidence can be found by reading "Consummation".
But the very fact that such a discussion has occurred in 2020, albeit in an obscure online forum with a small number of participants, simply proves that the prophecy of "Consummation" has come true: a friendship that occurred decades ago between three California artists has not been entirely forgotten.
Post a Comment