The Frozen Waterfall

Clark Ashton Smith

I returned on a winter day to the mountain stream, upon whose banks we roamed so long ago when the rich azaleas leaned above it with their load of bloom, and butterflies more white than their blossoms were on the wing. And I sought the many-stranded waterfall that plunged from a mossy boulder beneath the flowering branches, where once we loitered and loved each other well, and listened to the splashing of the stream. And now the azaleas were bare, and their leaves had long flown adown the torrent, and the foamy tresses of the fall had turned to gleaming ice, and all hung in silence like downward-pointing blades that never dropped.

And seeing it, I thought of deterred desires and aspirations, of violent longings checked and frozen in their course. And I found in the waterfall the symbol I had sought; and finding it, I was doubly sad. . . . For was it not the symbol of my soul?

From: Strange Shadows: The Uncollected Fiction and Essays of Clark Ashton Smith. Ed. Steve Behrends, Donald Sidney-Fryer and Rah Hoffman. Greenwood Press 1989.

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Printed on: October 29, 2020