Saturday, November 7, 2020

In Another August

This poem from Clark Ashton Smith (CAS) was unpublished in his lifetime.  The editors of the Hippocampus Press edition of The Complete Poetry and Translations of Clark Ashton Smith speculate that this poem was intended to be a part of The Hill of Dionysus cycle, but it was not included in the selection of that cycle published in 1962.

Since this poem is not available on The Eldritch Dark, here's the complete text:

How often must my steps retrieve 
The lonely and memorial way
Of that receding yesterday!
While flesh and spirit darkly grieve
For loveliness that could not stay.

Why is it that you are not here
In the loved place where you have lain?
How can your beauty disappear
Out of the still-returning sphere 
That brings again the stars and rain?

That brings again the tawny grass,
The summer sky, the summer tree,
And makes the pines' long shadow pass
Adown the hill, as once, alas!
Upon the loves of you and me.

Though suns return, and love delay,
Here in the wood my spirit waits,
In faithful trysting fain to stay
Till cyclic time restore the day
Alone allotted by the Fates.

"In Another August" pairs well with "Wine of Summer", which I read yesterday. After the ecstasies of the sunniest season celebrated in the latter poem, here the speaker ruminates on the joys of those days past, but also casts his thoughts forward to the other side of the coming winter:

Here in the wood my spirit waits,
In faithful trysting fain to stay
Till cyclic time restore the day
Alone allotted by the Fates.

As with "Wine of Summer", "In Another August" is not a complicated poem, but the celebration of love and the changing seasons is still enjoyable, even if these sorts of verses were not really CAS' forte. 

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