The Image of Bronze and the Image of Iron

Clark Ashton Smith


In the temple of the city of Morm, which lies between the desert and the sea, are two images of thegod Amanon,- a bronze image facing an iron image, across the fires and blood-stains of the alter-stone. Whenthe gory sunset of the day of sacrifice is over and the writhing fires of the sacrifice are dead, and the moon smiles with a cold and marble smile on the blackened altar-then Amanon speaks to Amanon, with a voice of iron, and a voice of bronze. . . . Thus, and nor otherwise, the image of iron speaks to the image of bronze:

"Brother, when the censers which are wrought of single sapphires and rubies, had turned the air to a blue mist of perfume, and the red serpents of the fire were fed on the heart of the sacrifice. I dreamed a strange dream: Methought, in some far day,-a day as yet unprophecied of the stars, the temple and the city of Morm, the people thereof, and we, the images of its god, were one with the sand of the desert, and the sand of the sea: Stone was fallen from stone, atom parted from atom, in the corruption of rain, and wind, and sun, Lichens,- and the desert grass, had eaten the temple to its plinth, and the cold, slow fire of rust and verdigris, crawling from mouth to nostrils, from knees to throat, had left of us twain a little pile of red and green dust. The roots of a cactus clove the altar-stone, and the shadow of the cactus, like the uncouth finger of some fantastic dial, crawled thereon thru days of blue fire, and nights of sultry sulphurous moonlight. Blown thru the lonely market-place, the wind of the desert offered the dust of kings to the wind of the sea."

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