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On CAS's Hill of Dionysus
Posted by: Thomas Goff (IP Logged)
Date: 15 July, 2020 01:11PM
Dionysus in San Rafael

Now, with the earth for board,
The bread and the wine is poured…

Clark Ashton Smith’s “The Hill of Dionysus”:
Lines from the Necromancer’s late resurgence,
Named for a small mount of pleasure if not vices
In San Rafael. These picnickers, no virgins,
Filled with restored spring energies, are three:
Smith; poet Eric Barker; Madelynne Greene,
The dancer, stretch their lungs luxuriously,
Have labored with their legs to a serene
Where—likely star-point capping this triangle—
Madelynne, dress flung to grass, now leaping nude,
Feels air and light and motion gently wrangle
For sway in sculpting, contouring her. Rude
With health (remember sur l’herbe, the Dejeuner?),
Clark and Eric cavort about their priestess,
Till wine and food have drugged these men of Manet
Just shy of transmuting ecstasy to a tristesse.
All dizzy, ring-around-the-rosy prone,
Sandwiching voluptuousness and calm…
Between their camel’s-hair shoulders both men groan
Contentment, from their pavane, from the balsam
Of breeze, odd incantations in their heads.
Three in a heap, the suited, the nude, entwined.
And how is it with her, being the broken breads
Shared out between them, or the freshly vined,
Pressed and fermented drink to be imbibed,
Reconstituted loaf and liquor delicious,
To re-split, consume, her carnal form inscribed
On bacchanalian parchment, vestal, salacious?

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