American poet, short story writer, and artist Clark Ashton Smith was born on this day January 13, 1893 in Long Valley, California. As a poet, he was known as “The Last of the Great Romantics” and “The Bard of Auburn” But as a short story writer, he delved in fantasy and horror genres, and was highly revered by both of his contemporaries H. P. Lovecraft and Ray Bradbury.
Thy mouth is like a crimson orchid-flower
Whence perfume and whence poison rise unseen
To moons aswim in iris or in green,
Or mix with morning in an eastern bower.
Thou shouldst have known, in amarathine isles,
The sunsets hued like fire of frankincense,
And noontides fraught with far-borne redolence,
The mingled spicery of purple miles.
Thy breasts, where blood and molten marble flow,
Thy warm white limbs, thy loins of tropic snow—
These, these, by which desire is grown divine,
Were made for dreams in mystic palaces,
For love and sleep and slow voluptuousness,
And summer seas afoam like foaming wine.
-Clark Ashton Smith