Weird Tales/Volume 42/Issue 4/Luna Aeternalis

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Black and white image of dancing and cavorting demons, shown in unshaded-white on a black background.  Image fills the top-right and bottom-left quarters of the page, with verses of the poem in the other quarters.
Luna Aeternalis


by Clark Ashton Smith


By an alien dream despatched and driven
In a land to strange stars given,
Stars that summoned forth the moon,
Singing a strange red eldritch rune,
I heard the coming of the moon
With tremulus rim that clomb and rang,
Whose rondure on the horizon rang
A gong distinct with silvern clang,
Re-echoing distantly, until,
Arisen soon,
In silent silver stood the moon
Above the horizon ringing still.

Half-waned and hollow was her brow,
And caverned by the night; but now
Her twilight turned the stars' loud rune
To muted music in a swoon,
Her low light lulled the stars to drowse.
Flicker and fail, and vaguely rouse:
I felt the silence come and go
As the red stars muttered low...

Old with moonlight lay the night,
And on the desert lay
Ancient and unending light
That assured not of the day;
For the half-moon stood to stay
Fixed at the heavens" height
And eternal ere the day.
Triumphant stood the moon
In a false and cold and constant noon:
Surely in conflict fell
The true, lost sun of noon;
The golden might of Uriel
Met some white demon of the moon.

By an alien dream despatched and driven,
I found a land to demons given,
To silvern, silent demons given
That flew and fluttered from out the moon,
Weaving about her tomb-white face
With mop and mow and mad grimace,
And circling down from the semilune
In a dim and Saturnalian dance,
To pirouette and pause and prance,
To withdraw and advance,
All in a wan eternal dance.

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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.


Works published in 1950 would have had to renew their copyright in either 1977 or 1978, i.e. at least 27 years after it was first published / registered but not later than in the 28th year. As it was not renewed, it entered the public domain on .