Shadow of Nightmare

Clark Ashton Smith

What gulf-ascended hand is this, that grips
My spirit as with chains, and from the sound
And light of dreamland, draws me to the bound
Where darkness waits with wide, expectant lips ?
Albeit thereat my footing holds, nor slips,
The night-born menace and the fear confound
All days and hours of gladness, girt around
With sense of near, unswervable eclipse.

So lies a land whose noon is plagued with whirr
Of bats, than their own shadows swarthier,
That trace their passing upon white abodes,
Wherein from court to court, from room to room,
In hieroglyphics of abhorrent doom,
Is trailed the slime of slowly crawling toads.

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