Tuesday, July 24, 2018
The Road of Pain
As with the other poems discussed so far, this one was never published during CAS' lifetime, and does not appear to be available on The Eldritch Dark. So let's start with the poem itself:
A haggard scar across Life's verdant plain
Straight runs the Road of Pain,
The road of anguish, despair and dread
Whereon all feet must tread.
Prince, merchant, mendicant must all essay
That long and thorny way.
Through pitiless days each shall with gasping breath
Implore surcease or death.
At last shall come the long withheld release,
The Road shall lead to peace.
At first blush, this is a rather morbid piece, but perhaps not unexpected from a writer who was only around seventeen when he wrote it. I think we're all a little dramatic at that age.
But my attention is drawn to the phrase "surcease or death". Although living beings must all accept death as the ultimate finality, CAS is clearing implying two alternatives. The noun "surcease" has a less specific meaning than "death", so the poet has suggested that death may not be the only way out. The possibilities are left for the reader to ponder.
The poem ends with the word "peace", so we exit with a slight uplift. We are left with a smidgin of something more hopeful than "anguish, despair, and dread".