The Fountain of Blood

Clark Ashton Smith

(Translated "from the French of Charles Pierre Baudelaire")

It seems my blood is a sealed but ever-rippling fount:
Deep in a sunless court the rhythmic sobbings mount.
Full well I hear it always, murmurously flowing;
But still the stanchless primal wound is past my knowing.

Across a city walled, as in some garden-close,
Turning the streets to islets, evermore it goes,
A glad, vermilion Lethe; none is thirsty there,
And roseate is the earth, and roseate is the air.

Often I have demanded from the captious wine
One day of slumber for the toiling mole of Fear:
Wine makes the vision clearer, liner still the ear!

I have sought in love a sleep oblivious and divine—
But love for me is a mattress that sharp needles fill,
Whereon, for thirsty girls, my blood pours many a rill.

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