Ode to the Abyss by Clark Ashton Smith

O many-gulfed, unalterable one,
Whose deep sustains
Far-drifting world and sun,
Thou wast ere ever star put out on thee;
And thou shalt be
When never world remains;
When all the suns’ triumphant strength and pride
Is sunk in voidness absolute,
And their majestic music wide
In vaster silence rendered mute.
And though God’s will were night to dusk the blue,
And law to cancel and disperse
The tangled tissues of the universe,
And mould the suns anew,
His might were impotent to conquer thee,
O invisible infinity!
Thy darks subdue
All light that treads thee down a space,
Exulting o’er thy deeps.
The cycles die, and lo! thy darkness reaps
The flame of mightiest stars;
In aeon-implicating wars
Thou tearest planets from their place;
Worlds granite-spined
To thine erodents yield
Their treasures centrally confined
In crypts by continental pillars sealed.
What suns and worlds have been thy prey
Through unhorizoned stretches of the Past!
What spheres that now essay
Time’s undimensioned vast,
Shall plunge forgotten to thy gloom at length,
With life that cried its query of the Night
To ears with silence filled!
What worlds unborn shall dare thy strength,
Girt by a sun’s unwearied might,
And dip to darkness when the sun is stilled!
O incontestable Abyss,
What light in thine embrace of darkness sleeps—
What blaze of a sidereal multitude
No peopled world is left to miss!
What motion is at rest within thy deeps—
What gyres of planets long become thy food—
Worlds unconstrainable,
That plunged therein to peace,
Like tempest-worn and crew-forsaken ships;
And suns that fell
To huge and ultimate eclipse,
And lasting gyre-release!
What sound thy gulfs of silence hold!
Stupendous thunder of the meeting stars,
And crash of orbits that diverged,
With Life’s thin song are merged;
Thy quietudes enfold
Paean and threnody as one,
And battle-blare of unremembered wars
With festal songs
Sung in the Romes of ruined spheres,
And music that belongs
To younger, undiscoverable years
With words of yesterday.
Ah, who may stay
Thy soundless world-devouring tide?
O thou whose hands pluck out the light of stars,
Are worlds grown but as fruit for thee?
May no sufficient bars,
Nor marks inveterate abide
To baffle thy persistency?
Still and unstriving now,
What plottest thou,
Within thy universe-ulterior deeps,
Dark as the final lull of suns?
What new advancement of the night
On citadels of stars around whose might
Thy slow encroachment runs,
And crouching silence, thunder-potent, sleeps?