Remembered Light

Clark Ashton Smith

The years are a falling of snow,
Slow but without cessation,
On hills and mountains and towers and worlds that were;
But snow, and the crawling night wherein it fell,
May be washed away in one swifter hour of flame:
Thus it was that some slant of sunset
In the chasms of pilèd cloud—
Transient mountains that made a new horizon,
Uplifting the west to fantastic pinnacles—
Smote warm in a buried realm of the spirit,
Till the snows of forgetfulness were gone.
Clear in the vistas of memory,
The peaks of a world long unremembered
Soared further than clouds but fell not,
Based on hills that shook not nor melted
With that burden enormous, hardly to be believed.
Rent with stupendous chasms,
Full of an umber twilight,
I beheld that larger world :
Bright was the twilight, clear like ethereal wine
Above, but low in the clefts it thickened,
Dull as with duskier tincture.
Like whimsical wings outspread but unstirring,
Flowers that seemed spirits of the twilight
That must pass with its passing—
Too fragile for day or for darkness—
Fed the dusk with more delicate hues than its own;
Stars that were nearer, more radiant than ours,
Quivered and pulsed in the clear thin gold of the sky.

These things I beheld
Till the gold was shaken with tight
Of fantastical wings like broken shadows
Forerunning the darkness;
Till the twilight shivered with outcry of eldritch voices
Like pain's last cry ere oblivion.

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Printed on: October 31, 2020