Monday, October 1, 2018

The Voice in the Pines

Read "The Voice in the Pines" at The Eldritch Dark:

It's worth noting that the version of this poem on The Eldritch Dark has several significant typos, mostly in the second stanza, so here's that entire stanza with corrections sourced from the version of this poem in the Hippocampus Press collection of Clark Ashton Smith's (CAS) complete poetry:

Dost sorrow for thy deaths in other years--
Aeons that, too, are dead--
On vanished worlds remembered but of thee?
Or for the flowers, that, shed
But yesternoon, find now their threnody,
After the dews which were thy silent tears?

"The Voice in the Pines" has an interesting abcbca rhyme scheme.  This has the effect of making me read each stanza in a sort of breathless gulp, as I'm questing for the completion of that "a" rhyme that began the stanza.  

Because of that headward rush on the first reading, I went back and read these lines several times, and I'm glad I did.  There is some subtle magic in this poem, especially in CAS' use of sound cues, as exemplified in these lines from the first stanza:

Surely thy voice is theirs,
Reverberant through caverns of the soul,
Like present grief which shares
The fainter sorrows of the past, that roll
In undertones no ear nor thought defines.

I'm really starting to appreciate the way that CAS combines visual, auditory, and narrative devices to weave his poetic magic, and the stanza-ending phrase "that roll / In undertones no ear nor thought defines" is very effective and memorable.

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