Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Madrigal of Memory

Read "Madrigal of Memory" at The Eldritch Dark:


This poem from Clark Ashton Smith (CAS) celebrates the remembrance of the physical aspects of a past relationship.  The speaker lauds various aspects of his departed lover, a technique which works very effectively in the fourth stanza:

In dryad ways not understood
You stir and whisper through the wood.
Far off the throbbing waters flow
Against a sanguine afterglow
Like the sweet pulses of your blood.

There's a tangible sense of motion in those five lines, beginning with a "whisper through the wood" and culminating in "the sweet pulses of you blood."  By referencing the wood nymph of classical mythology right at the start of the stanza, CAS seeds the flavor of ancient mystery, and in the last line he injects that sensibility directly into the memory of a paramour.

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