Finis (Smith)

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Finis  (1912) 
by Clark Ashton Smith
1912.

It seemed that from the west
The live red flame of sunset,
Eating the dead blue sky
And cold insensate peaks,
Was loosened slowly, and fell.
Above it a few red stars
Burned down like low candle-flames
Into the gaunt black sockets
Of the chill insensible mountains.
But in the ascendant skies
(Cloudless, like some vast corpse
Unfeatured, cerementless)
Succeeded nor star nor planet.
It may have been that black,
Pulseless, dead stars arose
And crossed as of old the heavens.
But came no living orb,
Nor comet seeming the ghost,
Homeless, of an outcast world
Seeking its former place
That is no more nor shall be
In all the cosmos again.
Null, blank and meaningless
As a burnt scroll that blackens
With the passing of the fire,
Lay the dead infinite skies.
Lo ! in the halls of Time,
I thought, the torches are out—
The triumph of the gods
Or funereal pomp of demons
For which their flames were lit
Over and quiet at last
With the closing peace of night,
Whose dumb impassible skies
Enfold the living world
As the sea a sinking pebble.

This work is in the public domain in the United States because it was published before January 1, 1923.

The author died in 1961, so this work is also in the public domain in countries and areas where the copyright term is the author's life plus 50 years or less. This work may also be in the public domain in countries and areas with longer native copyright terms that apply the rule of the shorter term to foreign works.