Sunday, March 17, 2019

The Cloud-Islands

Read "The Cloud-Islands" at The Eldritch Dark:

This poem from Clark Ashton Smith (CAS) immediately reminds me of the very first poem by the same author that I discussed on this blog.  That poem was called "Cloudland", and the similarities between these two pieces go beyond the common subject matter.  CAS actually uses some similar phrases and word choices, as with these examples:

  • From "Cloudland": "A faery land is this that far and high"
  • From "The Cloud-Islands": "I mark a faery city stand"

  • From "Cloudland": "With opal walls and palaces doth stand"
  • From "The Cloud-Islands": "Of opal-flame is every hall"

While "The Cloud-Islands" was included in CAS' debut published volume (The Star-Treader and Other Poems (1912)), "Cloudland" was never published in his lifetime.  Which of course makes me suspect that "Cloudland" was something of an early version of the later poem, although oddly enough I prefer "Cloudland", which includes a tonal shift that gives the verse more dynamic color than "The Cloud-Islands", which is a fairly breezy and light treatment of the same overall idea.

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