Poetry of the Fantastic: The Mystic Meaning by Clark Ashton Smith

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The language of myth often finds its best form as a poem. The language of the fantastic or the strange can sometimes only find expression in poetry. 

This series will present classics of the form, many long forgotten, and original contemporary poems.

This poem by the master Clark Ashton Smith sets the tone. The fantastic is all around us, we only need the mind to see it.

The Mystic Meaning

Alas! that we are deaf and blind
          To meanings all about us hid!
          What secrets lurk the woods amid?
What prophecies are on the wind?

What tidings do the billows bring
          And cry in vain upon the strand?
          If we might only understand
The brooklet’s cryptic murmuring!

The tongues of earth and air are strange.
          And yet (who knows?) one little word
          Learned from the language of the bird
Might make us lords of Fate and Change!

Clark Ashton Smith
published 1912