Friday, March 8, 2019

The Abyss Triumphant

Read "The Abyss Triumphant" at The Eldritch Dark:

This poem from Clark Ashton Smith (CAS) has an almost mocking tone, in which God is reduced to a powerless victim of the Abyss and the chaos that it brings.  In many ways, it reminds me of CAS' poem Nero, in which the legendary Roman emperor pines for a similar wave of destruction on the grandest possible scale:

I would tear out the eyes of light, and stand
Above a chaos of extinguished suns,
That crowd and grind and shiver thunderously,
Lending vast voice and motion but no ray
To the stretched silence of the blinded gulfs.

Although I know very few specifics regarding CAS' religious views, I have previously read (and blogged about) two verses that he wrote dedicated to the American deist Thomas Paine.  The viewpoint articulated in those pieces had more to do with a rejection of organized religion, and not necessarily of religious belief or inclination.  In comparison, what I've described above as the mocking tone of "The Abyss Triumphant" takes a different tack, painting the Christian deity in a very unflattering light as an essentially irrelevant figure on the grand stage of existence.  This would imply that CAS was an atheist, an interesting thread that I'll be watching for as I continue to read through the rest of his poetic corpus.

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