Sunday, January 27, 2019

The Night Forest

Read "The Night Forest" at The Eldritch Dark:

This poem really plays to all of Clark Ashton Smith's (CAS) strengths as a writer, incorporating a reverence for nature, a sensitivity to phenomena mysterious and supernatural, and the ability to engage the reader's senses as part of the journey.  

Although CAS is best known for metrically and rhythmically precise verses, this poem utilizes the open-ended feel of blank verse to great advantage, as exemplified by these stirring lines spoken from within a grove of pine trees:

Far in their secrecy
I stand, and the burdenous dusk,
Dull, but at times made keen
With tingle of fragrances,
Falls on me as a veil
Between my soul and the world.

The entire poem has a delicate, pensive quality, as the narrator senses things that are just out of his reach.  He grasps, but cannot take hold of that which he senses, as expressed in the lines "I feel but enter not / Your distances of dream".

CAS' reputation as a poet rests upon bold, epic verses such as "Nero" and "The Hashish-Eater".  But a poem like the "The Night Forest" is an excellent example of his range and his ability to capture elusive experiences on the printed page.  Once again, I am in awe of his poetic abilities.

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