Sunday, March 17, 2013

a bronze image facing an iron image

Call it a feral magnetism, call it a compulsive horror, the apparent love of one thing for another thing all the way up and down the universe, the perceived mutual contemplation of object on object, refusing nothing that presents itself, the eternal announcement, "There you are and here I am," echoing between ideas or events, which reminds me (no more Heike now, I'm veering) -- which reminds me of an American author named Clark Ashton Smith who lived and died in California (1893 - 1961), a writer for Weird Tales, a letter-writing friend to Lovecraft and to Robert E. Howard, and the thing that struck me while I was going through the prose poems section of a Smith fansite named The Eldritch Dark, was the presence of disintegration and the oppositional presence of solids, stones, or monuments, the passing-away of imperial or kingly power, the dissolution of cities, and especially one short piece called The Image of Bronze and the Image of Iron: the pull of the story goes in two ways, transience and solidity, represented by metal or stone versus decay or dust -- here it is, as I found it at the website, with a few edits for clarity -- spaces were missing --

In the temple of the city of Morm, which lies between the desert and the sea, are two images of the god Amanon,- a bronze image facing an iron image, across the fires and blood-stains of the alter-stone. When the gory sunset of the day of sacrifice is over and the writhing fires of the sacrifice are dead, and the moon smiles with a cold and marble smile on the blackened altar - then Amanon speaks to Amanon, with a voice of iron, and a voice of bronze. . . . Thus, and nor otherwise, the image of iron speaks to the image of bronze:

"Brother, when the censers which are wrought of single sapphires and rubies, had turned the air to a blue mist of perfume, and the red serpents of the fire were fed on the heart of the sacrifice. I dreamed a strange dream: Methought, in some far day, - a day as yet unprophecied of the stars, the temple and the city of Morm, the people thereof, and we, the images of its god, were one with the sand of the desert, and the sand of the sea. Stone was fallen from stone, atom parted from atom, in the corruption of rain, and wind, and sun. Lichens, and the desert grass, had eaten the temple to its plinth, and the cold, slow fire of rust and verdigris, crawling from mouth to nostrils, from knees to throat, had left of us twain a little pile of red and green dust. The roots of a cactus clove the altar-stone, and the shadow of the cactus, like the uncouth finger of some fantastic dial, crawled thereon thru days of blue fire, and nights of sultry sulphurous moonlight. Blown thru the lonely market-place, the wind of the desert offered the dust of kings to the wind of the sea."

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