Read "The Castle of Dreams" at The Eldritch Dark:
This poem appeals to me a great deal, and reminds of "Desert Dweller", which is (so far) my favorite poem by Clark Ashton Smith (CAS), and the one from which this blog takes its name.
CAS led a somewhat isolated life in the Sierra Nevada foothills, and apparently had no inclination or ambition for a steady and consistently remunerative career. He was, of course, a poet, but was also a writer of prose and a visual artist in several different media. Though never a wealthy man in the financial sense, his significant body of work shows that he was certainly not idle.
As so back to "The Castle of Dreams", and those wonderful closing lines:
If gold and gems of land and sea,
And broad estates were offered me,
I would not take them for the key
Of the Castle of Dreams.
I love the note of defiance struck by this poem, the narrator's willingness to embrace the power of dreams and imagination in lieu of more earthly pursuits. The attitude expressed in these verses would seem to originate from CAS' own autobiography, and reads like a determined statement of personal philosophy. And I admire the choices that CAS made in his life, embracing financial hardship as a condition of artistic freedom.
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