Monday, November 4, 2019

A Memory

Here's another poem from Clark Ashton Smith (CAS) that went unpublished in his lifetime, and is not available on The Eldritch Dark, so here's the complete text:

Remember'st thou that day, my sweet,
          A thousand years agone,
When from the desert's glare and heat
          I came at set of sun,
To where with towers agleam,
Bagdad lay by the Tigris stream?

And I had ridden long and far
          Over the sands to thee
Thy face as a guiding star,
          Beckoning ever to me.
The burning miles were naught
Beloved, with thee in my thought.

For I was Bedouin bold and swart
          A robber and outlaw--
Chief of a band, and thou, my heart,
          Child of a proud pasha.

Unto to the garden at eve I went,
          Where weary was the air
With rose and jasmine subtly bent,
          And found thee waiting there.

Lo! Like the moon thou seemed to me
          Coming to light my dusk.
Aye, gloom and darkness fled from thee
          With breath of myrrh and musk,
And lovelit eyes and face,
Thou camest to my warm embrace. 

This poem does have the feel of a draft, given that some of the metrical patterns don't quite come off, and there are several awkward rhymes.  Moreover, it is little more than a slight piece of orientalism, in the vein of CAS' juvenile prose writings (see the Black Diamonds and The Sword of Zagan, both from Hippocampus Press).

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