Sunday, March 14, 2021

Old Hydraulic Diggings

Read "Old Hydraulic Diggings" at The Eldritch Dark:

This is an unusual four-part haiku from Clark Ashton Smith (CAS).  Although he is describing an abandoned quarry, each of the four stanzas has one or more significant verbs which indicate faint signs of life in the dormant location:

  • First stanza: "roots that reach"
  • Second stanza: "Tortuously coil, / Clutching"
  • Third stanza: "A log... / Lies"
  • Fourth stanza: "Unfathomably falls."

The first two stanzas depict pines and manzanitas surviving in precarious situations, while the last two stanzas describe more passive scenes from the landscape around the tenacious trees.  It all comes together to paint a picture of plant life hanging on in non-ideal surroundings, and speaks to CAS' abilities as an observer of the small phenomena of life on this planet.

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