Clark Ashton Smith


Cleopatra


Thy beauty is the warmth and languor of an orient autumn,
Caressing all the senses—
With light from skies of heavy azure,
With perfume from blossoms large as thuribles,
That hang in the berylline dusk of palms;
With the balmy kiss of wind and wave beneath Canopus;
And the songs of exotic birds
That pass in vermilion-flashing flight from isle to isle
On an ocean of lazuli.
O, sweetness in the inmost sense,
As of blood-red fruits that have grown by the waters of Lethe,
Or fragrance of purple lilies crushed in a cypress-grove
By the sleeping limbs of Eros ! . . .
Thou pervadest me with thy love
As the dawn pervadeth a valley among mountains,
Or as sunset filleth the amaranth-colored sea;
The desire of thy heart is upon me
Like a summer wind from Cythera,
Where Venus lies among the tiger-lilies
By a pool whose waters arc fed from secret springs;
I inhale thy love
As the breath of hidden gardens of purple and scarlet,
Where Circe trails a gown
Whose colors are the reddening gold of flame
And the azure of the skies of autumn.

Submitted: Tuesday, January 28, 2014
Edited: Tuesday, January 28, 2014

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