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Egyptian dancer at Shubra


At first we heard the jingling of her ornaments
as she delayed beyond the trap of light,
and glimpsed her lingering pretence
her bare feet and the music were at difference:
and then the strings grew wild and drew her in.
And she came soft as paws and danced desire at play
or triumphing desire, and locked her hands
stretched high, and in the dance’s sway hung
like a body to be flogged; then wrenched away,
or was a wave from breasts down to the knees.
And as the music built to climax and she leaned
naked in her dancing skirt, and was supreme,
her dance’s stormy argument
had timid, workday things for all environment;
men’s awkward clothes and chairs her skin exclaimed against.

Bernard Spencer

Dance Poetry
A comprehensive anthology
Edited by Alkis Raftis
Copyright 2012