Thursday, September 13, 2018

Wings of Perfume

Read "Wings of Perfume" at The Eldritch Dark:

This is a hypnotic early poem by Clark Ashton Smith (CAS).  It was unpublished during his lifetime, and as with some other of his early verses that I have read so far, I'm a but surprised that CAS did not choose to include in any of the several collections that were published under his supervision.

What impresses me about "Wings of Perfume" is the feeling of a fever dream, a shifting and inconstant experience that is hard to capture or describe.  Many of CAS' word choices in this poem enhance that feeling: "incognizable", "half-remembered", "indescribable", "scarce conceivable" and so on.

An argument could be made that this poem relies too heavily on those vague adjectives, but I find them compelling as a reader, since they create a scenario that has no solid edges, but is ripe with rich language such as "Rapt in the fluctuant ecstatic gloom".  This is not necessarily one of CAS' best poems, but he successfully creates an unsettling atmosphere that is quite rewarding to the reader.

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