Thursday, December 21, 2023

Dedication: To Carol

Read "Dedication: To Carol" at The Eldritch Dark:

The version of this poem at The Eldritch Dark is missing a couple of lines and has some typos, so here's the complete corrected poem as it appeared in Spells and Philtres (more info on that below):

From this my heart, a haunted Elsinore,
I send the phantoms packing for thy sake:
Sea-wind and sun walk now the halls; I take
Funereal wreath and fanon from my door;
I banish demons called by mantic lore:
The pentagrams are changed, the circles break 
For thee in whom, by twofold thirst to slake,
Naiad and saint unite forevermore.

Here the grey seas have drunk an azure day:
The goblin-shaped miasmas of the night
And ghostly dragons of the mist take flight
Where the re-risen Cypris leads us on,
Unzoned, along a vervain-flowered way
Behind the fervent footprints of the sun.

This poem from Clark Ashton Smith (CAS) was included as the dedication for his 1958 collection Spells and Philtres, the last volume of his work published by Arkham House during his lifetime.  It is of course dedicated to his wife, Carol Jones Dorman, whom he married in 1954. 

As an expression of the transformative power of love, "Dedication: To Carol" is quite remarkable, and suggests the emotional release that must have accompanied CAS' relationship with Carol.  

These lines describe something of a rebirth, as CAS clears away the solemnity of "Funereal wreath and fanon" to be replaced by "a vervain-flowered way / Behind the fervent footprints of the sun."  In describing Carol as a "re-risen Cypris" (aka Aphrodite or Venus) he conveys upon his spouse the attributes of that ancient deity, which (according to Wikipedia) include "love, lust, beauty, pleasure, passion, procreation, and...desire, sex, fertility, prosperity, and victory."  Suffice it to say that CAS thought the world of Carol, and if she was indeed his "re-risen Cypris", he was a very fortunate man to have met her.

No comments:

Post a Comment