Tuesday, November 24, 2020


Read "Omniety" at The Eldritch Dark:


There is a slight difference in the published versions of this poem from Clark Ashton Smith (CAS).  When it was included in The Hill of Dionysus (1962), published shortly after his death, the last line of the first stanza read "And Hades opened honeyed wells."

When the same poem was included in the omnibus Selected Poems (1971), the last line of the first stanza read as it appears on The Eldritch Dark: "And Dis unseals Hyblaean wells."

It's a rather mysterious poem, beginning with the title, which is an archaic variant spelling of the word "omneity".  The speaker appears to be an omniscient former lover, recently come back from the dead, who declares himself:

Loosed from the coils of space and number,
I am the shadowy self who stands
Kissing your lips, holding your hands,
Warding your labor and your slumber.

Although the speaker's motivation may originate from a deep sense of everlasting love, his agenda has a creepy slant: "Dream not to escape me, day or night".  I don't think I've ever read a poem from CAS that has such an unusual combination of the romantic and the unsettling.   

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