Tuesday, December 11, 2018

The Palace of Jewels

Read "The Palace of Jewels" at The Eldritch Dark:


Earlier in this blogging journey, I read a shorter poem by Clark Ashton Smith (CAS) with the same name:


That shorter five-stanza work was apparently a draft for this sixteen-stanza version.  The longer version incorporates quite a lot of text from the draft version, while introducing many new images and ideas.  Particularly compelling is the idea of the various precious stones in this wondrous palace engaged in a sort of combat with the shadows:

Against the gloom their irised swords unite,
With shadow-sundering blades and points that fret.
From flickering looms they scatter wefts of light,
To catch the dusk as in a net.

The several descriptions of gemstones catching the sunlight are gorgeous, and even the onset of night brings on a beauty all its own:

Through evening halls the scattered jewels burn
Like broken chains of fire within the night,
Till comes the moon, and from her heavenly urn,
Bestows a stream of subtler light

On gems that seem some clear and stellar dew,
Orbed in the regions past the springs of morn;
And gems like magic flowers that fold anew
In lands beyond the sunset-bourn.

The magical imagery combined with the easily flowing rhymes make for a rich reading experience, lending more surprise to the fact that CAS never chose to include this poem in any of the poetry collections published during his lifetime.

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