Sunday, July 7, 2019

The Ancient Quest

Read "The Ancient Quest" at The Eldritch Dark:

This poem was unpublished during the lifetime of Clark Ashton Smith (CAS).  It touches on themes addressed in many other verses from the same author, and there's nothing in particular that marks this poem as a standout.  Nonetheless, the second stanza does shine through with a strong sense of finality in reference to the light of stars:

Had we but sight to see and comprehend,
Your countless fires were as a language plain
To tell us all that we have sought in vain;
The quest were at an end.

That stanza, like all of the others in "The Ancient Quest", begins with three lines of pentameter (five metrical feet) and ends with a single line of trimeter (three metrical feet).  I do find that unusual rhythm very compelling, since the shortened final lines provide a sort of hard stop, to let the content of the stanza sink in before the reader continues to the following stanza.

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