Friday, January 13, 2012

Happy Birthday, Clark

Clark Ashton Smith was born today in Auburn, California, in 1893. Mostly self-educated (he had only an 8th-grade formal education), he was one of the the member of the great triumvirate who wrote for Weird Tales (the other two being, of course, HP Lovecraft and Robert E. Howard). Although he outlived them by more than twenty years, after their deaths - in quick succession, Lovecraft from cancer in '37 and Howard by suicide in '36 - he ceased writing, ending the Golden Age of fantasy. He's certainly best known for his fantastic fiction, but his artistic career had three parts: in his later years he was a sculptor, and he had written poetry before fiction. In fact, he had been called "the Keats of the Pacific". Though most are long, here are two of those poems:


Slumberously burns the sun
Over slopes adust and dun,
Leaning southward through September. . . .
I forget and I remember,
Life is half oblivion. . . .
Somnolently burns the sun.

Close and dim the horizons creep,
Earthward lapse the heavens in sleep;
Woodlands faint with azure air
Seem but bourns of Otherwhere:
Swooning with ensorcelled sleep,
Close and dim the horizons creep.

Embers from a dreamland hearth,
Glow the leaves in croft and garth;
Vines within the willows drawn
Relume the gold of visions gone;
Darkly burn, in croft and garth,
Embers from a dreamland hearth.

Sleepy like an airless fire,
Smoulders my supreme desire:
Throeless, in the tranquil sun,
Hearts could melt and merge as one
In forgetful soft desire
Drowsy like an airless fire.

Snowfall on Acacia


Drooping low,
Acacia-branches bear their double
Burden of flowers and snow.


Humped with snow, the golden
Sprays careen, lifting free

You can find his works (and more) at the Eldritch Dark.

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