By Clark Ashton Smith
O perfect love, unhoped-for, past despair!
I had not thought to find
Your face betwixt the terrene earth and air:
But deemed you lost in fabulous old lands
And rose-lit years to darkness long resigned.
O child, you cannot know
What magic and what miracles you bring
Within your tender hands;
What griefs are lulled to blissful slumbering,
Cushioned upon your deep and fragrant hair;
What gall-black bitterness of long ago,
Within my bosom sealed,
Ebbs gradually as might some desert well
Under your beauty’s heaven, warm and fair,
And the green suns of your vertumnal eyes.
O beauty wrought of rapture and surprise,
Too dear for heart to know, or tongue to tell!
Now more and more you seem
Fantasy turned to flesh, incarnate dream.
Surely I called you with consummate spell
In desperate, forgotten wizardries,
With signs and sigils of dead goeties,
And evocations born of blood and pain
But deemed for ever vain.
Surely you came to me of yore, among
The teeming specters amorous
With faces veiled and splendid bosoms bare
That turned my sleep to fever and delight
In ever-desolate years when love was young.
Or I, perchance,
Begot you on some golden succubus
Amid the madness of the Sabbat’s night
In earlier lives forevowed to Satanry
And sorcerous dark romance.
For all your heart and flesh are sib to me,
And in my soul’s profound
Your face, an irrecoverable pearl,
Is ultimately drowned.
So thus, delicious girl!
Whether love’s destiny be weal or woe,
I hold you now, and shall not let you go.