Walled with far azures of the wintering year,
Late autumn on a windless altar burns;
Splendid as rubies from Sabean urns,
A holocaust of hues is gathered here.
The pear-trees lift a Tyrian tinged with blood;
Strange purples brighten in the smouldering plums;
The fire-red gold of peach and cherry comes
To storm the bronzing borders of the wood.
Rich as the pyre of some Hesperian queen,
Feeding the ultimate sunset with sad fires,
Is this, where beauty with her doom conspires
To tell in flame what death and beauty mean.
O, loveliness grown tragical and dear!
My heart has taken from the torchful leaf
A swiftly soaring glory, and the grief
Of love is colored like the dying year.
Clark Ashton Smith (1893-1961)
from Sandalwood, 1925
[Poem is in the public domain in Canada]
Clark Ashton Smith biography