Retrospect And Forecast

Clark Ashton Smith

Turn round, O Life, and know with eyes aghast
The Breast that fed thee-Death, disguiseless, stern:
Even now, within my mouth, from tomb and urn,
The dust is sweet. All nurture that thou hast
Was once as thou, and fed with lips made fast
On Death, whose sateless mouth it fed in turn.
Kingdoms abased, and Thrones that starward yearn,
All are but ghouls that batten on the past.

Monstrous and dread, must it forever abide.
This inescapable alternity ?
Must beauty blossom, rooted in decay,
And night devour its flaming hues alway ?
Sickening, will Life not turn eventually,
Or ravenous Death at last be satisfied ?

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