I thought the pool was pretty when I first
. Discovered it, attracted thither by
. The music of the waterfall that fed it.
I had stopped to satisfy my thirst,
. But tarried there to satisfy my eye.
. A moment only—so I thought—instead it
Captivated me with all its charms;
. I almost thought it asked for me to stay.
. The flowers on the bank, the moss upon
The rocks, the foliage so green—no harm
. In breaking from the road. A brief delay,
. I thought; tomorrow I’ll continue on.
But when the moonlight shone upon the pond
. She came to life, emerging from the water,
. Flowing on the surface of the pool,
The water flowing through her being, responding
. To her every fluid move. I caught her
. Eyes a moment only, then in cruel
Haste she vanished underneath the surface
. Of the waters, leaving me at once
. Both blesséd to have seen, and curséd to
Have seen no more. There’s nothing on the earth as
. Beautiful, I thought; as prior wants
. Went unremembered now I’d her in view.
Another night. I’d stay another night;
. Perhaps she’d show herself to me again.
. Perhaps I’d glimpse again that flowing skin,
That waterfall of hair; perhaps I might
. Have more than just a moment. If and when
. She surfaced, I would see, and try to win
From her a longer audience, a vision
. That I might retain for all my days.
. But would she show herself a second time?
I had to hope. For now it was my mission
. To behold again that fluid face,
. To know again a meeting so sublime.
She didn’t come. I waited all the night,
. And fell asleep at daybreak, weary from
. The watch. When later I awoke at noon
I grumbled at the waste of time. I might
. Have made it home by now. She didn’t come.
. And I am late, and unrewarded. Soon
I’ll leave this place, and not come back again.
. I must’ve just imagined it—and yet
. I felt much more alive because of her.
Hence the disappointment in me when
. I turned to face the road. Could I forget
. The beauty I’d beheld? I wasn’t sure.
I was just about to leave it all behind
. When she began to sing. O what delight!
. (I hadn’t even known she had a voice.)
Without a pause I hurried back to find
. Her at her pool, and watch, and listen. Might
. She let me watch her now? It was her choice
To either tolerate or flee from my
. Approach. Alas! she must have chosen to
. Retreat, or else I showed too late, and missed
My chance, for even as my searching eye
. Discerned her shape upon the pool, her music
. Stopped, and she herself dissolved in mist.
How many days I stayed upon the bank
. I do not know. I hardly ate, or slept,
. I only lived to see her form appear
Again. Some nights I lived in vain, and sank
. Into despair; while other nights I kept
. My vigil I was fortunate to see her,
And living was a wonder while she
. Remained. But only did I see, and hear:
. I never got to touch, for whenever
I approached too near she fled from me.
. You’d think I’d learn to not adventure near,
. But no—I’d try again the doomed endeavor.
And sometimes others tried. For by and by
. Another would discover her while resting
. From his road. And he would also be
Delayed. A night, a week, a month he’d try
. To draw within a breath of her, questing
. For her touch. She never gave it. But she
Would play their hearts, even as she played
. With mine. But I resented their intrusion,
. Pleased when they at last recalled their duty,
And left. They had to leave. But I would stay,
. And dream that she’d be more than just illusion,
. And I might finally bathe within her beauty.
I don’t remember how it came to pass
. That I no longer idled by that pool.
. I’m certain that it was no will of mine
To leave; they must’ve come and dragged me fast
. Away. Alas, I don’t recall, and who’ll
. Tell me how I lost a dream so fine?
So now I see her only in my dreams
. And secret longings—yet I see her well
. Enough inside my mind the vision taunts
Me ever. Now no mortal woman seems
. As beautiful as once before. To hell
. With mortal women. I know what I want.