Clark Ashton Smith

Love, will you look with me

Upon the phosphor-litten labor of the worm—

Time's minister, who toils for his appointed term,

And has for fee

All superannuate loves, and all the loves to be?

Love, can you see, as I,

The corpses, ghosts and demons mingled with the crowd?

The djinns that men have freed, grown turbulent and proud?

Alastor, Asmodai?

And all-unheeded envoys from the stars on high?

Know you the gulfs below,

Where darkling Erebus on Erebus is driven

Between the molecules—atom from atom riven,

And tossing to and fro,

Incessant, like the souls on Dante's wind of woe?

Know you the deeps above?

The terror and vertigo of those who gaze too long

Upon the crystal skies unclouded? Are you strong

With me to prove

Even in thought or dream the dreadful pits above?

Know you the gulfs within?

The larvae, the minotaurs of labyrinths undared?

The somber foam of seas by cryptic sirens shared?

The pestilence and sin

Borne by the flapping shroud of liches met within?


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