She always came before I'd thought to call
before I knew I'd needed her
and always as a damsel fly who'd trace
wide, rhythmic circles round my head,
their tempo and their rise and fall
a pattern for the treble line
that had been bothering me - or else
she'd sit contentedly
on my right shoulder, feeding me
the key lines for my wayward verse.
There was that one day she would never come:
the day before the winter solstice, but apart
from that, she answered every need.
And then one day, her special day in fact,
a winter solstice eve, she came. Her dance
no longer rhythmic; more demonic, I would
say, more like the way a fly goes wild and
uncontrolled approaching death by spray.
She scurried, streaked, dived, worried
me so much, I followed when she left.
She took me through the copse,
across the water meadow,
along the path beside the hammer pond
and out onto the open moor.
I hardly noticed in my effort to keep up
how dark the sky had suddenly become.
Still erratic, and by this time, ground hopping,
hardly rising from it as I climbed
the steepest rise of all towards her
and what would be my final sight of her.
She made a swoop behind it
and was gone. In that last moment,
as I closed my eyes and tried to hold
the image of her in my mind,
without my seeing it, the day
became the night. Then looking round
to get my bearings, seeing nothing
for a while, I finally was met
with one of this world's sights (or so
I've always thought): the glow worms
out in force, and not just out,
but organised, as though my damsel fly
was orchestrating them, instructing them
in dance routines she'd made her own.
They did not have the sweep and brio
her flights had: their forms were heavier,
their beetle wings less flexible, more heavy metal,
but yet their lights and motions both, were sexual,
and somehow their more sober movements
conveyed this to me in their dance.
My music changed, but later, when great fame
embraced me, I was gratified to find
her input recognised: the style I'd pioneered
became known for a while as "damsel" music.
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