Thursday, November 25, 2021

Berries of the Deadly Nightshade

Life circumstances have kept me from blogging the last few months, but I hope to start doing so more frequently as the grey days of fall and winter keep me indoors!

So back to business: 

Read "Berries of the Deadly Nightshade" at The Eldritch Dark:

Atropa belladonna (or "deadly nightshade") is mentioned several times throughout the creative work of Clark Ashton Smith (CAS), as in this related poem which I blogged about earlier:

With the haiku "Berries of the Deadly Nightshade", CAS perfectly distills the essence of the longer poem "To the Nightshade" by zeroing in on the part of the plant that is toxic to humans.  In "To the Nightshade", he gave us:

...purple like the agony of Death,
And their fruit as its livid consummation.

Compare that to the similarly grim outro of "Berries of the Deadly Nightshade":

Laden with slumber
Of nights that have no number.

The skill of the maturing poet is evident in the transition from "the agony of Death" to "slumber / Of nights that have no number".  That closing line is wonderful all by itself, alliterative and rhythmically perfect.  How glad I am to get back to the project of reading and reveling in all of CAS' poetry!

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