Clark Ashton Smith

Alienage - Poem by Clark Ashton Smith

Dear one, what do we here ?
Petal by petal falls the alien spring
In gardens where we pass ungarlanded,
And seek once more the doves and myrtles dead
In some retrieveless year;
And claim no leaf or blossom for our own . . . .
O Paphos, and the moons of Paphos flown !
My golden dove, canst thou recall
Nights when delight was all,
And high desire could still outlive the dawn ?
Hast thou forgot,
Here, in the grey, sad world that knows us not,
The years when we were nymph and centaur, drawn
To elder forests deep
That spring had turned to chrysolite and gold ?
Hast thou forgot the tale of kisses told
By summer waters calm as sleep,
When Hesperèan sunsets touched thy hair
From islands lost and fair ?

Dear one, what do we here ?
Beyond the window-pane
The shifting veils of rain
Bedim the bitter world that is not ours;
And on dishevelled flowers
There falls a hueless twilight, brief and drear . . . .
Give me thy lips again—
Let us forget the weariness and pain,
And the supreme disaster of our birth,
While in thy flesh my lingering
Slow kisses move and cling
And love alone hath verity or worth.
Ah, let me find, about thy bosom's fruit,
The fragile, vague perfume
Of unseen lilies crushed within the gloom
Of forests lone and old;
Ah, let me seek in leisured long pursuit
Amid thy harvest-colored hair,
For suns and summers of remembered gold;
And seal my lips on throat and bosom fair,
Till where my kisses fell, the phantom rose
Of Paphos blows.

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Poem Submitted: Monday, January 13, 2014

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