Friday, December 7, 2018

A Dream of Beauty

Although this poem is available at The Eldritch Dark, that version has transcription errors, so a better reading experience can be found in one of the anthologized appearances of this poem, available at Google Books:

This poem was included in several magazines and poetry anthologies published during Clark Ashton Smith's (CAS) lifetime, in addition to appearing in several volumes of his own poetry either published or planned while he was still alive.  Among the early verses by CAS that I have read so far, this one probably had the widest distribution across a variety of published sources.

This sonnet returns to the subject of dreams, which CAS frequently wrote about.  Here he has verbalized nature as the heart of Beauty, and in general the poem is quite pleasant and anodyne.  At least up until the rather curious line twelve, referring to Beauty: "Her face the light of fallen planets wore".

The phrase "fallen planets" suggests CAS' interest in the cosmic mysteries, and within the context of this poem, prompts the narrator's reaction of "doubt and wonderment", before the dream abruptly ends.  I like this little twist at the end - CAS starts us on a charming journey, but then introduces a note of discord towards the end which alters the experience and gives the reader something of a jolt.

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