The Cloud-Islands

Clark Ashton Smith

What islands marvellous are these,
That gem the sunset's tides of light-—
Opals aglow in saffron seas?
How beautiful they lie, and bright,
Like some new-found Hesperides!

What varied, changing magic hues
Tint gorgeously each shore and hill!
What blazing, vivid golds and blues
Their seaward winding valleys fill!
What amethysts their peaks suffuse!

Close held by curving arms of land
That out within the ocean reach,
I mark a faery city stand,
Set high upon a sloping beach
That burns with fire of shimmering sand.

Of sunset-light is formed each wall;
Each dome a rainbow-bubble seems;
And every spire that towers tall
A ray of golden moonlight gleams;
Of opal-flame is every hall.

Alas! how quickly dims their glow!
What veils their dreamy splendours mar!
Like broken dreams the islands go,
As down from strands of cloud and star,
The sinking tides of daylight flow.

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