Friday, May 29, 2020

Amor Autumnalis

Read "Amor Autumnalis" at The Eldritch Dark:

This is a poem that Clark Ashton Smith (CAS) did not publish in his lifetime, and it surprises me that he did include it in the omnibus Selected Poems (1971).  I think it's quite a powerful poem, and enhanced by an unusual technical device that lends it a rich aural palette.

In the opening lines, he employs adjectival phrases that create a non-rhyming refrain:

  • unfading autumn
  • unconsuming leaves
  • untended flowers
  • flown summer
  • roseless gardens

In the closing lines, he switches to using color references as a refrain:

  • sanguine-colored vine
  • golden woods and hills
  • pools of lucid bronze
  • black opal
  • amber willows
  • dreamful mauve

The poem has seventeen lines, and the two sections delineated above are each composed of eight lines, with the dividing middle line ("In a quiet valley-land") providing a natural pause in the reading of the whole.  

I think "Amor Autumnalis" represents CAS' work at its best, using thoughtful poetic technique and the riches of the English language to express exquisite ideas and images.

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