In the Desert

Clark Ashton Smith

I met the night in unfamiliar lands,
In realmless desolations, drear and far,
Where no life was, nor any shard remained
Of tomb or cenotaph: all salient things
Long since had fed the prone monotony
Of the null forgetful sands. Here darkness carne
Directly as a king who mounts the throne
Of some Cimmerian primogeniture.
A waif of day, I wandered beneath stars
That seemed the unnumbered steely eyes of Death
Seeking the lost necropoles.

A wind
Rose loudly on the middle night, and passed,
Laden with nameless, immemorial dust,
The shapeless ghost of empires. In that dark
Alien and secret as the heart of death,
I knew not if the wind, remembering
Walls that were great upon its ancient way,
Sang now their threnody, or if the dust,
Tongueless itself, found in the shrilling wind
A tongue for its regret. I, wandering there,
Felt but the dust's unseen, mysterious kiss,
Heard but the grievous wind. . . . So have I known
Lost visions vaguely grasp at memory
And fall back unrecalled. . . . Then, laden still
With sorrow and with dustiness of Eld,
Stirring the desert dark, the wind went on
To leave its dwindling burden at the feet
Of splendid morning unendurable.

Printed from: www.eldritchdark.com/writings/poetry/255
Printed on: November 25, 2017