The Song of A Comet

Clark Ashton Smith

Pale plummet of the stark immensities,
From perished heavens cast, I fall and flare
Through gulfs by stellar orbits girdled round;
And spaces bare
Of sparkless night between the galaxies—
By path of sun nor circling planet bound.
No star allots my lone and cyclic gyre;
I mark the systems vanish one by one;
Among the swarming worlds I lunge,
And sudden plunge
Close to the zones of solar fire;
Or ' mid the mighty wrack of stars undone,
Flash, and with momentary rays
Compel the dark to yield
Their aimless forms, whose once far-potent blaze
In ashes chill is now inurned.
Upon the shadowy heavens half-revealed,
I show their planets turned,
Whose strange ephemerae,
On adamantine tablets deeply written,
In cities long unlitten,
Have left their history
And lore beyond redemption or surmise.
Adown contiguous skies,
I pass the thickening brume
Of systems yet unshaped, that hang immense
Along mysterious shores of gloom;
Or see—unimplicated in their doom—
The final and disastrous gyre
Of blinded suns that meet,
And from their mingled heat
And battle-clouds intense,
Overspread the deep with fire.

Upon the Lion's track,
Or far beyond the abysms of the Lyre,
I thread, through mazes of the zodiac,
Mine orbit placed amid
The multiple and irised stars, or hid,
Unsolved and intricate,
In many a planet-swinging sun's estate.
At times I steal in solitary flight
Along the rim of the exterior night
That rounds the universe;
And then return,
Past outer footholds of sidereal light,
To see the systems gather and disperse;
And learn
What vast and multifarious marvels wait
In the dim void that has no ultimate;
What wraiths of suns extinguished long ago
On alien welkins burn;
What flaming blossoms grow
From the black battlefields of cosmic wars;
What stellar hells, or ampler spheres sublime,
Enisled in diverse time,
Are wrought from sharded moons and meteors;
And haply I discern
What paler fires, to mine own self akin,
Still haunt the night's eternal corridors,
Or in the toils of great Arcturus spin.
Then, restless still, I rise
Through vaults of mightier gloom, to watch the dark
Snatch at the flame of failing suns;
Or mark
That midden of the stagnant nadir skies
Where many a fated orbit runs.
An arrow sped from some forgotten bow,
Through change of firmaments and systems sent,
And finding bourn nor bars,
I fly, nor know
For what remoter mark my flight is meant.

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