Sandalwood

Clark Ashton Smith

Upon thy separate road
(Thou, who hast chosen the world’s appointed way)
My songs shall be as the perfume of sandalwood
Borne by a secret wind from form-lost irretrievable islands,
Where the hibiscus bowers of our love,
And the palaces of roseate marble,
With all their vine-caught pillars,
Were dreamt, but never builded.
And through the clanging tumult of thy days,
A rumour of phantom chords,
Of dulcimers destroyed,
And lutes that might have been,
Shall call and cry to thee as the burden of my songs;
And thou shalt hear the spectral fountains fall,
Delicious as the laughter
Of ghosts of amorous women,
Of flowers that never were;
And winds that flee, exiguous and faint,
Like the sighs of long-dead lovers,
Through seedless gardens without place or name.
And thou shalt know
What immaterial myrtles, pale and sweet
As the breasts of love-worn queens,
Or flushed as with a maiden's glowing blood,
Were strewn to make
The forfeit couch where two shall never come;
And know
What topaz or what Tyrian-coloured wines
The palm-entrellised grapes
Withhold in lost Cocaigne.

Printed from: www.eldritchdark.com/writings/poetry/670
Printed on: November 23, 2017