L'Irreparable

Clark Ashton Smith

Ah, can we stifle the old, the long remorse,
Who lives and moves full tortuously,
Who feeds upon us like the worm upon the corpse,
The caterpillar on the tree?
Ah, can we stifle now the implacable remorse?

What wine, what magistral, what philtre known to man
Will drown our olden enemy,
Gluttonous and destructive like the courtesan,
Still moiling ant-wise, patiently?
What wine? - what magistral? - what philtre known to man?

Tell it, fair sorceress, if haply thou dost know,
To one with anguish overborne,
And like a dying man, with all his wounds aflow,
By hoofs of horses bruised and torn;
Tell it, fair sorceress, if haply thou dost know.

To him the prowling wolves have scented from afar,
And crows have marked within the gloom -
A broken soldier who despairs, in some lost war,
Of cross, or cenotaph, or tomb -
This fallen man the wolves have scented from afar!

Can one illuminate the muddy murk of heaven,
Or tear the tenebrific pall,
Intenser still than pitch, with neither morn nor even,
nor stars, nor gleams funeral?
Can one illuminate the muddy murk of heaven?

Our hope, that burned for us behind the hostel panes,
Is long outblown, is dead for aye!
With neither moon nor lamp, we lodge in dark domains,
The martyrs of an evil way;
The Devil has put out all the tavern panes!

Dost love the damned, O sorceress adorable?
Ah, tell me, knowest thou the lost?
Dost know Remorse, whose venom-dropping darts from Hell
Into the targe of souls are tossed?
Dost love the damned, O sorceress adorable?

The Irreparable toils with fell accursed teeth,
Fretting our soul's frail monument;
And often, like the moiling termite, delves beneath,
To gnaw the ruinous fundament;
The Irreparable toils with fell, accursed teeth.

I have seen sometimes, within the common theatre,
Aflame with music sonorous,
A Fay, from heavens dark as the sepulchre,
I have seen, sometimes, within the common theatre,

A Being wholly wrought of gold and gauze and light,
Cast a great Satan down in scorn.
But my heart, long unvisited of all delight,
Is like a theatre forlorn
That waits, always in vain, the Being winged with light.

Printed from: www.eldritchdark.com/writings/poetry/302
Printed on: November 23, 2017