Friday, January 14, 2022

Song of the Free Beings

This poem from Clark Ashton Smith (CAS) was unpublished in his lifetime, and is not available on The Eldritch Dark, so here's the complete text:

Cat of the wilderness, my soul's own brother
be thou untamed and tetherless;
follow no path that men have made,
be watchful on the heights and in the thickets.

Hawk of the heavens, winged companion,
descend never save to seek thy plunder;
and even as in some tower, make thy nest
in a craggy mountain moated round with torrents.

Great hornéd owl, that has outwatched the night with me,
in thy cavernous cloister of cypresses,
guard thou the secrets hidden
from him that sees no light in darkness.

CAS also created a Spanish version of this poem titled "El Cantar de los seres libres".

It's not surprising to find CAS admiring wild creatures and celebrating their separateness from the human-dominated world around them.  All throughout his fiction, poetry, and his letters, he makes it clear that he has little sympathy with modern industrial society.  In his own life, he worked as little as possible in conventional occupations, and in the spirit of a true artist, seemed to "follow no path that men have made", at least in terms of making reasonable accommodations with the demands of the technocratic culture in which he lived.

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