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A Song Of Dreams

Clark Ashton Smith 1893 (Long Valley Caldera) – 1961 (Pacific Grove)



A voice came to me from the night, and said,
What profit hast thou in thy dreaming
Of the years that are set
And the years yet unrisen?
Hast thou found them tillable lands?
Is there fruit that thou canst pluck therein,
Or any harvest to be mown?
Shalt thou dig aught of gold from the mines of the past,
Or trade for merchandise
In the years where all is rotten?
Are they a sea that will bring thee to any shore,
Or a desert that vergeth upon aught but the waste?
Shalt thou drink from the springs that are emptied,
Or find sustenance in shadows?
What value hath the future given thee?
Is there aught in the days yet dark
That thou canst hold with thy hands?
Are they a fortress
That will afford thee protection
Against the swords of the world?
Is there justice in them
To balance the world's inequity,
Or benefit to outweigh its loss?

Then spake I in answer, saying,
Of my dreams I have made a road,
And my soul goeth out thereon
To that unto which no eye hath opened,
Nor ear become keen to hearken -
To the glories that are shut past all access
Of the keys of sense;
Whose walls are hidden by the air,
And whose doors are concealed with clarity.
And the road is travelled of secret things,
Coming to me from far -
Of bodiless powers,
And beauties without colour or form
Holden by any loveliness seen of earth.
And of my dreams have I builded an inn
Wherein these are as guests.
And unto it come the dead
For a little rest and refuge
From the hollowness of the unharvestable wind,
And the burden of too great space.

The fields of the past are not void to me,
Who harvest with the scythe of thought;
Nor the orchards of future years unfruitful
To the hands of visionings.
I have retrieved from the darkness
The years and the things that were lost,
And they are held in the light of my dreams,
With the spirits of years unborn,
And of things yet bodiless.
As in an hospitable house,
They shall live while the dreams abide.
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Submitted on August 03, 2020

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Clark Ashton Smith

Clark Ashton Smith was a self-educated American poet, sculptor, painter and author of fantasy, horror and science fiction short stories. He achieved early local recognition, largely through the enthusiasm of George Sterling, for traditional verse in the vein of Swinburne. As a poet, Smith is grouped with the West Coast Romantics alongside Ambrose Bierce, Joaquin Miller, Sterling, Nora May French, and remembered as "The Last of the Great Romantics" and "The Bard of Auburn". Smith was one of "the big three of Weird Tales, along with Robert E. Howard and H. P. Lovecraft", where some readers objected to his morbidness and violation of pulp traditions. It has been said of him that "nobody since Poe has so loved a well-rotted corpse." He was a member of the Lovecraft circle, and Smith's literary friendship with H. P. Lovecraft lasted from 1922 until Lovecraft's death in 1937. His work is marked chiefly by an extraordinarily wide and ornate vocabulary, a cosmic perspective and a vein of sardonic and sometimes ribald humor. more…

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