Friday, February 15, 2019

A Song of Dreams

Read "A Song of Dreams" at The Eldritch Dark:

One of my all-time favorite poems is Clark Ashton Smith's (CAS) "Desert Dweller", and my reading of that poem is what started me on the journey to read his entire poetic corpus (as documented on this blog).  So I was very pleasantly surprised to encounter "A Song of Dreams", which I have never read before, and which has obvious parallels to "Desert Dweller".

This is really a great piece of versifying from start to finish, but the second stanza is particularly strong, and I can't help quoting all of those wonderful lines:

Then spake I in answer, saying,
Of my dreams I have made a road,
And my soul goeth out thereon
To that unto which no eye has opened,
Nor ear become keen to hearken:
To the glories that are shut past all access
Of the keys of sense;
Whose walls are hidden by the air,
And whose doors are concealed with clarity
And the road is travelled of secret things,
Coming to me from afar;
Of bodiless powers,
And beauties without color or form
Holden by any loveliness seen of earth.
And of my dreams I have builded an inn
Wherein these are as guests.
And unto it come the dead
For a little rest and refuge
From the hollowness of the unharvestable wind,
And the burden of too great space.

Although this poem was written when CAS was still a teenager, it has a surety of purpose and a technical aplomb that confirms the maturity of CAS' artistic practice even at such an early age.  As an expression of his philosophy as an artist, it is wordier, but only slight less powerful, than the later work with which it is thematically aligned ("Desert Dweller").

My journey to read through all of CAS' extant poetry is a long one, and not everything I read is rewarding.  But when I come across gems like "A Song of Dreams", then I have no regrets - CAS was a truly gifted poet, and I find his worldview to be in sympathy with my own, so I continue the journey with pleasure and anticipation.

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