Sunday, December 17, 2023


This is another poem from Clark Ashton Smith (CAS) that exists only in archival manuscript (at Brown University's John Hay Library).  It's not available on The Eldritch Dark, so here's the complete text:

Beneath a lover's ardent sophistries,
Perhaps you read the truth, 
And find, beyond the blood's impassioned pleas,
Love that is made of tenderness and ruth,

An exile cast upon the world's dark shore,
Something in you I seek
Of that long-vanished motherland of yore
Beyond the deepest sea, the bluest peak;

Some hint of fallen banners, loves foregone,
The soft and sad perfume
Of jasmines blown, and salt of waters drawn
By moons no latter sun shall re-illume.

I had to lookup the archaic word "ruth" as used in line four: according to the Shorter Oxford English Dictionary, it means "Compassion, pity; the feeling of sorrow for another."

There's a hint of something rich and splendid in "Verity", particularly in the last few lines where CAS gives us tantalizing hints such as "The soft and sad perfume / Of jasmines blown".  But ultimately, this short poem doesn't really develop into anything substantial, marking it as a minor effort from CAS' overall canon. 

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