Luna Aeternalis


Clark Ashton Smith

By an alien dream despatched and driven

In a land to strange stars given,

Stars that summoned forth the moon,

Singing a strange red eldretch rune,

I heard the coming of the moon

With tremulous rim that clomb and rang,

Whose rondure on the horizon rang

A gong distinct with silvern clang,

Re-echoing distantly, until,

Arisen soon,

In silent silver stood the moon

Above the horizon ringing still.

Half-waned and hollow was her brow,

And caverned by the night; but now

Her twilight turned the stars' loud rune

To muted music in a swoon,

Her low light lulled the stars to drowse,

Flicker and fail, and vaguely rouse:

I felt the silence come and go

As the red stars muttered low...

Old with moonlight lay the night,

And on the desert lay

Ancient and unending light

That assured not of the day;

For the half-moon stood to stay

Fixed at the heavens' height

And eternal ere the day.

Triumphant stood the moon

In a false and cold and constant noon:

Surely in conflict fell

The true, lost sun of noon;

The golden night of Uriel

Met some white demon of the moon.

By an alien dream despatched and driven,

I found a land to demons given,

To silvern, silent demons given

That flew and fluttered from out the moon,

Weaving about her tomb-white face

With mop and mow and mad grimace,

And circling down from the semilune

In a serpentine and sinister dance,

To pirouette and pause and prance,

To withdraw and advance,

All in a wan eternal dance.

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