Wednesday, November 21, 2018

The Twilight Woods

Read "The Twilight Woods" at the Eldritch Dark:

This sonnet by Clark Ashton Smith (CAS) has a much stronger sense of narrative than is typical of his early poetry.  This is in fact the first of his early verses in which the narrator is referred to by the pronoun "I", which immediately denotes the words in this poem as originating from a clear human voice. 

In the opening octet, the narrator proceeds with a sense of caution, but feels pensive, not frightened.  As CAS takes us into the closing sestet, he alters the tone with the phrase "darkening twilight is a sorcery", and continues to build on that mood with words like "weird", "strange", and "fantastic".

Nothing particularly dramatic occurs in this poetic narrative, and yet CAS has built up a sense of mystery and perhaps even danger in the encroaching twilight as experienced in the depths of the forest.  This sonnet combines CAS' strengths as a nature poet and a weird poet into one potent work, and is a wonderful surprise to discover amongst those verses that were not published in his lifetime.

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