Clark Ashton Smith

The ghostly Ere that walks the fen,
Tonight thine only light shall be;
On lethal ways thy soul shall pass,
And prove the stealthy, coiled morass
With mocking mists for company.

On roads thou goest not again,
To shores where thou hast never gone,
Fare onward, though the shuddering queach
And serpent-rippled waters reach
Like seepage-pools of Acheron

Beside thee; and the twisted reeds,
Close-raddled as a witch's net,
Enwind thy knees, and cling and clutch
Like wreathing adders; though the touch
Of the blind air be dank and wet

As from a wounded Thing that bleeds
In cloud and darkness overhead—
Fare onward, where thy dreams of yore
In splendor drape the fetid shore
And pestilential waters dead.

And though the toads' irrision rise
Like grinding of Satanic racks,
And spectral willows, gaunt and grey,
Gibber along thy shrouded way,
Where vipers lie with livid backs

And watch thee with their sulphurous eyes—
Fare onward, till thy feet shall slip
Deep in the sudden pool ordained,
And all the noisome draught be drained
That turns to Lethe on the lip.

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