By Clark Ashton Smith
A plummet of the changing universe,
Far-cast, I flare
Through gulfs the sun’s uncharted orbits bind,
And spaces bare
That intermediate darks immerse
By road of sun nor world confined.
Upon my star-undominated gyre
I mark the systems vanish one by one;
Among the swarming worlds I lunge,
And sudden plunge
Close to the zones of solar fire;
Or ‘mid the mighty wrack of stars undone,
Flash, and with momentary rays
Compel the dark to yield
Their aimless forms, whose once far-potent blaze
In ashes chill is now inurned.
A space revealed,
I see their planets turned,
Where holders of the heritage of breath
Exultant rose, and sank to barren death
Beneath the stars’ unheeding eyes.
Adown contiguous skies
I pass the thickening brume
Of systems yet unshaped, that hang immense
Along mysterious shores of gloom;
Or see – unimplicated in their doom –
The final and disastrous gyre
Of blinded suns that meet,
And from their mingled heat,
And battle-clouds intense,
O’erspread the deep with fire.
Through stellar labyrinths I thrid
Mine orbit placed amid
The multiple and irised stars, or hid,
Unsolved and intricate,
In many a planet-swinging sun’s estate.
Ofttimes I steal in solitary flight
Along the rim of the exterior night
That grips the universe;
And then return,
Past outer footholds of sidereal light,
To where the systems gather and disperse;
And dip again into the web of things,
To watch it shift and burn,
Hearted with stars. On peaceless wings
I pierce, where deep-outstripping all surmise,
The nether heavens drop unsunned,
By stars and planets shunned.
And then I rise
Through vaulting gloom, to watch the dark
Snatch at the flame of failing suns;
The heavy-dusked and silent skies,
Strewn thick with wrecked and broken stars,
Where many a fated orbit runs.
An arrow sped from some eternal bow,
Through change of firmaments and systems sent,
And finding bourn nor bars,
I flee, nor know
For what eternal mark my flight is meant.
read by Bellona Times