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     Dance pience

  Homage to Martha Graham


“… at the still point, there the dance is. ”


                 T. S. Eliot


The errand into the maze,


Emblem, the heel’s blow upon space,


Speak of the need and order the dancer's will:


But the dance is still.



For a surmise of rest, over the flight of the dial,


Between shock of the fall, shock of repose,


The flesh, in its time, delivered itself to the trial.


And rose.



Suffrance: the lapse the pause.


Were the will of the dance —


The movement-to-be, charmed from the shifts of the chance.


Intent on its cause.



And the terrible gift


Of the gaze, blind on its zenith, the wreath


Of the throat, the body's unwearied uplift,


Unmaking and making its death,



Were ripeness; and theme for return;


Were rest, in the durance of matter:


The sleep of the musing Begetter


And the poise in the urn.


John Berryman

Dance Poetry
A comprehensive anthology
Edited by Alkis Raftis
Copyright 2012