Monday, July 27, 2020
Read "Jungle Twilight" at The Eldritch Dark:
This poem from Clark Ashton Smith (CAS) was published in the Summer 1932 issue of Oriental Stories magazine, which at the time was edited by Farnsworth Wright (who also edited Weird Tales magazine).
While the poem itself emerges from a strain of jungle-themed exoticism, CAS manages to imbue it with his characteristic flair for the weird:
Narcotic silence, opiate gloom:
The painted parakeets are gone,
The blazoned butterflies withdrawn.
Nocturnal blossoms, weird and wan,
Like phantom wings and faces bloom.
Better yet, the closing lines manage to inject forgotten gods and a dangerous critter into the mix:
And, winding on the toppled wall
Where carven gods hold carnival,
The cobra couples with his bride.
Considering that Oriental Stories was a classic pulp magazine, CAS manages to deliver a thematically appropriate poem that contains just enough of his verbal magic to elevate it beyond what one would expect from the pages in which it appeared.