The Temptation

Clark Ashton Smith

In the close and clinging night,
When the rosy-bellied moon
Like a vestal in a swoon
By black hills was taken slowly;
When my prick was raised upright
With a hot, unwearied, holy
Lust for some tight-bottomed leman -
Siren, woman, witch or demon -
Then it was I heard a laughter,
Warm and clear, like amber melting
Through the heavy gloom, and after
Came a rain of blossoms pelting;
Perfume like an ecstasy
Swelling rose triumphantly,
And the darkness cleft with fire,
In a low-lit dawn revealed
Those whereof my flesh was fain -
Erycine and all her train,
Bodies bared for full desire,
Pacing on a sabbath field!...
Now, with hasty gaze, I know
All the cloven Hill has hidden -
Nymphs that rutting gods have ridden
Under suns of long ago;
Givers of a gift divine
Which the Fathers deemed malign;
They that tempted Antony,
Fair or sable succubi;
Vampires by the saints arointed,
Sanguine-lipped and purple coynted;
After whom, in lubric dances,
Now a stranger crew advances,
Tangled limbs and flanks revealing: -
Mountain-roaming oreads,
They whose pleasures icy-keen
Soon benumb the pulse of feeling;
Fountain-fresh limoniads,
All their lilied sex concealing
Under dripping fleeces green;
Golden-tailed, coquetting sphinxes,
Graceful, mad and silent minxes,
Fain for some enormous lover
Their unique behinds to cover;
Exile fays with childish bosoms,
And their undevirginate
Vulvas wrought like budding blossoms
Cool and small and delicate;
Mild and milky titanesses,
With their autumn-colored tresses,
Who would gently squat upon me
in the mode of centauresses;
Umber dryads fleet to shun me -
all are in a lovely rout
That rings me round and round about.

Some their shameless bottoms show
In a long and swelling row;
Some assail me with their pointed
Nipples keen as clitori -
Frantic perfume troublously
Crushed from out their breasts anointed;
Others with their ell-long hair
Seek my thrilling thighs to snare
And my moving body bind
With their amorous bottoms joined;
Some their lubric navels proffer-
loins and bellies forward curving
Hard with avid lust unswerving;
One, a fringeless coynt would offer,
Veined and pale, that scarcely shows
Aught of all its folded rose;
One, with dim and shielded breast,
Coyly in the shadow lingers,
Golden thighs together pressed
For a stern and iron raping;
One, with deft lascivious fingers,
Holds the soft and coral chalice
Of her rounded vulva gaping
For the horizontal phallus.

Oct 27th, 1924

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