The Whisper of the Worm

Clark Ashton Smith

(From Christophe des Laurières)

How long, O soul, hast parleyed with the worm—
Hearing how long the whisper subtle-sweet
From out the dust thy Sisyphean feet
Must darkly vex and travel for a term?

"Lie down with me: supreme and sole release
I proffer, from the weariness of things,
From ways where with no serpent-staff nor wings
Thou pantest still; I am the way of peace.

"Lie down with me, lie down, and thou shalt know
The secret known to slave and Pharaoh,
And win the final wisdom of the dead:

"Like couches amaranthine-piled and deep
Where love may lie, by pleasure laid asleep,
I make the mould or marble of thy bed."

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