Monday, April 22, 2019


Read "Nightmare" at The Eldritch Dark:

After previously reading Clark Ashton Smith's (CAS) unusual long poem "The Doom of America" yesterday, "Nightmare" seems like a return to form, with CAS skillfully handling a subject that is more in sync with the larger portion of his poetic corpus.

"Nightmare" is a short poem, but as a description of an unpleasant experience while sleeping it hits all the high points, with the final stanza really cementing the experience for me:

Rejected at the closen gates of light
I turned, and down new dreams and shadows fled,
Where beetling shapes of veiled, colossal dread
With Gothic wings enormous arched the night.

A phrase like "beetling shapes of veiled, colossal dread" may be melodramatic, but it never fails to capture my attention.  In this poem, CAS takes a simple subject, works it into only twelve lines of verse, and delivers a visceral and memorable reading experience.

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