River Sprites by Michael Theroux

Fingertips of trees caress the river’s skin
Leaves on the water slowly, slowly spinning
River claims this harvest year out, year in
Forest’s fallen glory, fall’s golden winnings

We go to the river to sit in quiet wonder
To watch the leaf rafts follow one another
Wait upon the setting sun, whose
Slanting rays are the caress of a lover

Remain so still, breathe slowly
Suspend motion, watch closely
There is Magic here, light and fragile
Something shines, something sparkles

The very Aire seems thick

Should we be so blessed
To witness these misty creatures
Riding their sun-splashed spin-craft
Dancing to the river’s rhythms …

Perfect, centered meditation
Will not avail the soul of Man, as
The bliss glimpsed in this moment
Still, calm crystalline

The pools of our Lifesong
Flow deep within our being
Below our darkest fears
Above our brightest joys

A memory, settling, imbedded
Speaking of grand antiquity
Lilting from halls so long forgotten
Only Pan still plays the fanfare

Ah! Now rise, and lead a pure new life
Carrying within you, a precious treasure
None may steal, few even guess
An essence nuanced so deep within

There’s one more thing: a fee
Due, before your dying
To set you indentured soul free
To also dance upon these waters

Take heart! There is a greater a gift
Than even this, that I have now given
For with the treasure’s soul claim
Comes the very gift to free you

Just once, in one special moment
Of golden sunset on still dark waters
In late autumn, leaves a-floating
Bring one fresh soul to the river

To calm them, to heal them
Of wounds of their barbed path
Speak gently, mover slowly
Then, nodding to the River

Feign sleep, breathe gently
Teacher, with all your skill
Guide one soul to knowledge
Of Pan’s most gentle dancer

Ballerina, on stage of alder
Sent to spin upon the water
A twist of mist, a sparkle
A high note in the river’s laughter

Spirit or sprite, water nymph
It matters not to name her
Better to wait in breathless delight
As the light ripples around her

There! That’s payment in full
But understand, that in this moment
In this giving so gently shared
I freely give my dearest treasure

In years to come, Chaos will scream
Stars collide crashing around you
You will walk in peace, depth of soul
Shining love from this, that charms you

Giving, you release that so closely held
To one new soul, then awakening
This requires strength beyond belief
Once given, cannot be retaken

You will learn, as I
The Sprite’s most Magic measure
The greater joy of letting go
Of your soul’s most guarded treasure

Michael Theroux writes from his home in Northern California. His career has spanned botanist, environmental health specialist, green energy developer and resource recovery web site editor. Entering the public-side of the creative writing field late in life, at 73, Michael is now seeking publication of his cache of art writings which may be found, or will soon be seen, in Down in the Dirt, Ariel Chart, 50WS, CafeLit, Poetry Pacific, Last Leaves, Backwards Trajectory, Small Wonders, Academy of the Heart and Mind, Preservation Foundation / Storyhouse, Cerasus, The Acedian Review, the Lothlorien Poetry, City Key, Wild Word, and Fixator Press.