Danseuse du Soir

The sky is grey now, the lake patters, the air is thicker though brighter within the wood. Folk of the day go home; only a few stay to see the night emerge.

She dances them. The descending light, the deepening gloom, the spectral lichen on the blackened boles, she dances them to life. The swans, she dances, the maidens she arouses; those who awake at night come to hunt, and she greets them with fear, with guile, with fluttering delight.

She dances the beginning of hopes and the end of dreams. Her brother's heart, and her prince's heart, and all our hearts are scattered at her feet. Her father's spells and her mother's care, her budding breast, her dying breath, flung into the evening like stars, burn into us. We shall remember the tales she embodies, old and new.

Now in our urban ugliness and beauty we see her in the middle, somewhat elevated, as she jerks and juts and bares herself, as she collapses and flees and wonders and begs for release. In her burnished madness she speaks, she speaks of lands of long ago.

All things, all beauties, she dances them all, for our delectation, for a single evening's pledge of time, the hours to be taken away forever. Time flees, the evening ends; the dancer stands before us, garlanded and smiling. And she gives us what she has danced: imperishable as the flame of the stars.