Saturday, February 20, 2021

Gopher-Hole in Orchard

Read "Gopher-Hole in Orchard" at The Eldritch Dark:

This short poem from Clark Ashton Smith (CAS) has a subtle circularity which lends it a humorous aspect.  Each of the three lines has a key word incorporating consonance built on the letter "g"; those words in order are:

  • Again
  • plugged
  • Bubbling
The speaker has attempted to plug a gopher hole "with straw and stones", from which "the water runs."  Those final words at the end of the poem link back to the first word "Again", and link so strongly that any of three lines could introduce the poem.  

That is to say, you can begin reading on any line of this poem, and as long as you follow the sequence of lines that CAS has established, the meaning of the work is clear and intact.

Once again, I am impressed with how intentional so much of CAS' writing in verse is: nothing is accidental, every line is crafted with care, and his word choices are never a matter of mere convenience.

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