“Spring,” John Collier, WikiArt.

Stream of Forgetfulness, fount-fed springs,
Unwitting travelers sipped from clear-sweet
Waters, all memories lost, who, what, where,
Ancient spells ruling over gaze-empty souls,
Wandering into our village: children, families
At our doors, beyond healing herbs, teas,
Œtean rustic remedies. Quite touched, they
Climbed tiers of steps non-existing, spent
Hours in frozen poses, reaching upward
For things ethereal, neither seen nor heard
By mortal eyes or ears.

Thus, trials of shepherd families, I, Myrta,
Guiding aimless ramblers, away from rocky
Crags, around thickets, strolling as sun-blind
Through flocks of grazing sheep. Yet, upon
Hearing music of sheep bells, wind or string
Instruments, random walkers paused, specially
One girl, knowing expression to young face
Returned. Once awakened, rubbing eyes, I
Asked, “Who are you child? What happened
To you, your family?” Alas! She could not
Speak, except whisper, “I am Kaethe.”

Days Kaethe bed-rested, arms and legs cold as
Stone, tea sips, fruit. Lo! She spoke of mysteries
Beyond knowing. “Ascended into clouds, time
Knew not turning-glass, candles burned, never
Melting, for thousand ages, none had grown old.”
Then I asked, “Child, why were you not more
Affected?” After few sips taken, Kaethe’s mother
Kissed her daughter’s face, water tasted indirectly.
Music of double aulos, deific spells unraveled,
Two notes one time played, Kaethe’s memory
Returning, held fast to mind and body.

“Allegory of Spring,” Kimon Loghi, WikiArt.

For Kaethe’s parents, others drinking from
Sacred spring, fates were god-sealed, roaming
Mountains until, like medusa’s gaze, trans-
Formed into fleshed stone, statues toppling
Into brittle pieces. This spring we destroyed,
Ancient window to sight divine, filled with stony
Arms and legs, torsos, rolling heads, human
Rubble, until no water bubbled forth. For
Kaethe, absent-minded child, her days were
oft normal, until found lost-rambling amongst
Sheep, mid-step frozen in sunlit, flowered fields.

Enchanted springs, those imparting forgetfulness, even madness, are
present in classical literature, such as Ovid’s “The Fasti,” Book IV:
“Betwixt Cybele and Celæne flows,
Stream of water, madness bestows,
Gallus by name: who drinks thereof goes mad,
To all who would be sane, it is forbad
To drink thereof – avoid it lass and lad.”
Thanks for reading.

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