Ode to Light

Clark Ashton Smith

What sky beheld thy primal birth,
When ageless night's dimensionless extent
First knew division, and the girth
Of formless heavens constraint and measurement;
And when thy touch was laid
On chaos, till its atom-surge
Subsided as the breast
Of ocean, when above the night's unrest
The morning leaps, arrayed
In vesture of unshadowed skies?
Was it any deep our sight decries,
Or past the verge
Of vision in a firmament witheld,
That, like a flower from the primordial dust,
Thy sun original upsprang -
Lone, ere the constellations sang
Their youthful p├Žan unexcelled,
Bright in the first completion of their choir -
Their fullness ere the hand of Death outthrust
Broke that continuousness of younger fire?
Burns yet thine earliest star?
Or sank its flame
Ere came
Aldebaran and Algebar;
Or stout Orion rose, fulfilled
With all his starry frame?
Ere any world that now,
Treads to a sun unchilled,
Might look upon its flaming brow,
Or note its fall from paths of light uplifted,
To where, within the irremeable pit,
All suns dethroned have drifted
To sunken paths unlit?
Have all its brethren found that place,
Where iron-relentless shadows hem,
Seeing the ruinous maw
As when the falling Titans saw
The gulf of Tartarus opening under them
Like visible oblivion, for the space
Ere they were one with it?

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