Wednesday, December 15, 2021

On the Mount of Stone

Read "On the Mount of Stone" at The Eldritch Dark:

There is a whiff of benign sorcery in these lines, as Clark Ashton Smith (CAS) casts a loved one in the role of the immortal phoenix, endlessly cycling through long life and fiery rebirth in deserts of Arabia.

The closing stanza is near-perfect, as the flames that will trigger the rebirth of his paramour "Renewed with young auroral wings" are fed by 

Laurel-leaves and laurel-blooms,
Dreams, and blood, and flowers
Dropped by Hermes-footed hours

Evergreen laurel trees (or shrubs) have long been symbols of immortality, but it's those "Dreams, and blood, and flowers" that combine to flawlessly express the complexity and fullness of a life lived with such passion that an immortal rebirth is its just reward.

Over the last few years, I've read hundreds of poems by CAS, and I sometimes question why I feel the need to blog and comment on each one.  Then I encounter a piece as breathtaking as "On the Mount of Stone" and my doubts are once again laid to rest.

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