The City Of Destruction


Clark Ashton Smith


The incognizable kings of Night, within their unrevealed abyss

Have built them a metropolis against the kingdoms of the light.

Its mountain-passing ramparts climb exalted from the nadir flats

In black, Babelian ziggurats that tier the dusk of nether time.

Prodigious, dire and indistinct, with horns that lift the heavens' doom,

Its turrets crowd the skyless gloom huge as the night of hells extinct.

The hostile gulfs for armor wear its walls as of a thousand Romes;

The swollen menace of its domes enhelms the swart, inimic air.

The Powers to darkness ministrant have fortressed them supremely well,

Building their dreadful citadel with massed, eternal adamant

Quarried from the core entire of suns that night and ice entomb;

Their secret furnaces relume the stone that once was stellar fire.

The monstrous lamps of Death and Mars like demon moons emblaze their halls;

The watch-fires on the eternal walls flame like a crown of fallen stars.


From out the sunken courts resound colossal engineries of doom;

Some slow, malign, tremendous loom dismally rumbles underground;

Loud shuttles clack implacably; unknown machines, with dangerous ire,

Beat in their hears of throbbing fire the instants of eternity;

The crooked arms of titan cranes, with grasp Briarean, momently

Lift to the dim, Tartarean sky a nameless freight in stretchéd chains;

And Acheronian waters roar, constrained, relentless, subterrene,

Where at their evil toil unseen the hellish wheels moan evermore

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