Saturday, December 16, 2023


This poem from Clark Ashton Smith (CAS) was written in September 1952, but unpublished in his lifetime.  His wife (Carol Jones Dorman) noted on the manuscript that it is "Obviously a poem to Ede Hoppmoor."  That name is unfamiliar to me: perhaps one of CAS' paramours?

Since this poem is not available on The Eldritch Dark, here's the complete text (note that the end of the third line was rendered illegible in a fire):

You have not come...and time stands over me,
a torturer pouring
sluggish, slow-burning drops of molten p_____
which are the minutes numbered into days.

How shall I suffer this delay?  Accurst
the lover who must wait, and waiting, doubt:
until your promised coming, better it were
to be the satyr hibernating 
dim months within the icy-chitoned oak,
the snake that sleeps beneath the winter stone.

Those last few lines are quite striking, as the impatient speaker is transformed into a hibernating satyr and then into "the snake that sleeps beneath the winter stone."  That final image is powerful and evocative, as the scaled reptile rests in anticipation of warmer days, ready to spring back to life with the ardor of a lover finally embraced.

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