I am the neophyte of a nameless god,
the follower of a strange caravan
that leaves no trace upon the sands.
I am the dreamer who seeks the source of all illusion,
the meaning of riddling runes on walls of lichen-covered stone.
I am the traveler who once stopped to rest near the somber tomb
of some long-vanished elder god
who left his frozen tears of gold 'neath vacant, opal moons.
And all about me lay the shadowed ruins, piled one on one,
of other monstrous tombs,
each one prouder than the last,
and yet each foredoomed by thoughtless hands
that built from wind-shifting sand to sand.
From one dead world unto the next,
I see the emptiness of my futile quest,
yet I cannot stop; and like some mad dervish,
endlessly pursue the phantom of the thing that is myself.
I have kissed the cool, rubric lips of long-dead queens in
whose veins ran blood as cold as glacial streams.
And I have seen dungeons built of rough-hewed stone that have
out lasted dark eternity,
and have heard the never-ending screams of tortured souls on racks of
hellish fire left abandoned by indifferent gods, long since expired.
I have heard the music ethereal, sweet and pure played by silk-clad
nymphs on lutes made of human skin;
and have seen naked dancers spiral about with the rattling skulls
of those who died to sate a pampered prince's whim.
Often I have seen a phantom hand beckon to me from beyond,
but only was my own that had conspired to lead me on.
Once, eons ago, wearied of my never-ending quest,
I rested on a darkened world and watched a race of titans
battle through an endless void for possession of an emerald star-
and won, idly cast afar.
Siren calls I have heard in the deep, spatial night; beautiful women
tempting with supernal delights,
yet these were demons with eyes ablaze
and claws readied to grip and hold.
Once upon a nameless star, I beheld the statue of a majestic being,
poised as if weighed with some great profundity,
that sat and stared into the void;
and when I touched it, it crumbled into dust and was no more.