The Last Enchanter: Drinking to His Shade

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Clark Ashton Smith died in his sleep on this date in 1961, making the ides of August as black a date for Klarkash-Ton admirers as the ides of March ever were for the adherents of Gaius Julius Caesar. I raise a glass (though one not of Atlantean vintage, nor one imbued with more than common wizardry) to his shade. I am sure, somewhere, Robert E. Howard is doing the same, as well as Smith’s finest acolyte (and last of the courtly poets), Donald Sidney-Fryer. It is hard to choose from the enormity of CAS’ oeuvre (over seven hundred poems), but I thought this one fitting:

Ashes of Sunset

by Clark Ashton Smith

On lands he shall not know, the splendor lies —
A pharos on some alienated shore,
In foam and purple lost forevermore,
Where dreams are kindled in remoter eyes.

Who fares to find the sunset ere it fly,
Turning to light and fire the further west,
Shall have the veils of twilight for his guest,
And all the falling of an ashen sky.

Clark Ashton Smith always sought that furthest splendor; that dream-cloaked, westernmost shore. I hope he found it.