Saturday, December 30, 2023


Read "H.P.L." at The Eldritch Dark:

This is the second poem that Clark Ashton Smith (CAS) wrote about H.P. Lovecraft, a peer whom he never met in person.  I wrote about the first of these poems ("To Howard Phillips Lovecraft") several years ago:

Twenty-two years (from 1937 to 1959) separated the writing of these two works, and yet the same theme can be found in both of the them.  In the first poem, CAS enshrined Lovecraft's words like so: "And from the spirit's page thy runes can never pass."

In the later poem ("H.P.L."), CAS expresses a similar sentiment, but with an exalted technique that befits the cosmic imagination of its subject:

Some echo of his voice, some vanished word
Follows the light with equal speed, and spans
The star-set limits of the universe,
Returning and returning, to be heard
When all the present worlds and spheres disperse,
In other Spicas, other Aldebarans.

What writer could wish for a greater legacy than to create work that "spans / The star-set limits of the universe"?  Almost ninety years after his death, Lovecraft's work continues to have a major impact on contemporary culture, so one can't help but wonder if CAS' prognostications may well turn out to be correct.

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