Sunday, February 16, 2020

The Funeral Urn

Read "The Funeral Urn" at The Eldritch Dark:

Once again we have a poem from Clark Ashton Smith (CAS) that he attributed to the pseudonym Christophe des Laurières.  Most of the des Laurières poems that I've read so far have romantic and/or erotic themes, and while that holds true for "The Funeral Urn", there is also a much darker strain at work in these lines:

But - irony supreme - within,
The poisonous black dust of sin
And ashes from dark pyres of love.

The title of the poem reminds us that the narrator's heart is like a funeral urn - a repository for the remains of the dead.  The lines quoted above suggest the path that led to that metaphorical death: "The poisonous black dust of sin".  

Given that CAS chose to attribute this poem to a pseudonym, I choose to read these lines as though they are spoken by that mysterious author, who elsewhere has reveled in themes considerably less dark.  It seems as though "The Funeral Urn" could serve as something of a coda to the short cycle of poems from Christophe des Laurières, as the serial seducer faces the end of of his particular life's journey.

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