If Winter Remain

Clark Ashton Smith

Hateful, and most abhorred,
about us the season
of sleet, of snow and of frost
reaches, and seems unending
as plains whereon
lashed prisoners go,
chained, and enforced
to labor in glacial mines,
digging the baubles of greybeard kings,
of bleak Polarian lords.

Benumbed and failing
we languish for shores Canopic
that founder to vaults of fire,
for streams of ensanguined lotus
drinking the candent flame
with lips unsered, unsated,
for valleys wherein no shadow,
whether of cassia or cypress,
shall harbor the ghost of ice,
the winter's etiolate phantom.
Benumbed and failing,
we languish for shores Canopic
that founder to vaults of fire.

Fain would we hail the summer,
like slaves endungeoned
beneath some floe-built fortress,
greeting their liberator,
the hero in golden mail. . .
But. . . . if summer should come no more,
and winter remain
a stark colossus
bestriding the years?
if, silent and pale,
with marmoreal armor,
the empire of cold
should clasp the world
to its rimed equator
beneath the low,
short arc of the sun,
out-ringed by the far-flung
orbit of death?

Printed from: www.eldritchdark.com/writings/poetry/245
Printed on: January 16, 2019