Wednesday, August 15, 2018

The West Wind

Once again we have an early poem by Clark Ashton Smith (CAS) that was published in the Overland Monthly while he was still in his teens.  The full text is available at the Hathitrust:;view=1up;seq=585

(Scroll to the bottom of the page to see the poem by "C. Ashton Smith").

Right off the bat I notice that we have an interesting structure of rhymed endings only on alternate lines, with the first and third lines of each stanza left unrhymed.  This has the effect of making two lines read more like one long line, and making each stanza into one natural sentence.

Also quite interesting is the establishment of a question in the first stanza:

Say, what are the things whereof you speak
          As you fly o'er the hills inland?

Each of the following four stanzas provides a possible answer to that question, with each stanza beginning on the word "Methinks" as the narrator imagines what wonderful stories the wind is bringing to him from far away.

In the end, I read this poem almost as a bit of autobiography for the young CAS.  Born and raised in rural California, he would never travel far, and yet as this poem demonstrates, he had the sensitivity and imagination to pluck exotic images and ideas from the very wind itself.

No comments:

Post a Comment