Said the Dreamer

Clark Ashton Smith

My dreams were nests of horror, whimsey-wrought
With orts and shreds from old abysses brought;
Were eyries built by condor-wingèd awe,
Enskied on somber pinnacles of thought.

Fantastical, I saw the visions shift
Like bubbIes that a Titan's breath might lift,
Drowning in seas more deep than his despair—
Iron-coIored, soon to shatter or to drift;

Or like illumined crystals fallen from hands
Of gods, that cloud interiorly with lands
Of wider spheres exalted past the sun,
Or burst while thought in idle question stands.

Conscious of gulfs in which I dared not gaze,
I passed on faltering and imperilled ways,
Through lands where hoary mountains danced and roared
To baleful pygmies piping hellish lays.

The flames that wait against the end of things
Were light and limit to my wanderings.
Through deserts bleaching like the bones of death
Aback I fled, and faltered on spent wings

In night Cimmerian, thronged with sorceries,
Where lightnings flamed on empty sands and seas ;
Or feared the leopard-crouch of pallid shapes
In Saracenic arches of black trees.

Then in the dream I dreamt that Time was done:
Light still endured, whose touch I might not shun,
Though at my back I heard the lips of Night
Puff out the flaring flambeau of the sun.

I leaned from some black precipice, to see
The pits beneath. One came, not far from me,
To hurled therein the sockets of the stars
And shells of worlds that rattled emptily.

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