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There shall be touching of hands

(Only these finger-tips)

Lighter and far more hopeless

Than words at our lips.

They must be blown by the music and strewn by the dance.

Our fervor shall pass like the glint of an old romance.


Figures to tread on the grass

(Let viols be wailing!)

Weaving in, weaving out the pursuit,

The flight, the unveiling -

Decorous bending of knees and the droop of lashes -

You shall have these, and embraces.  The rest is ashes.


Gardens under the moon

(There were none like ours)

Dark and old in remembrance

Gave us haunted bowers

Sprinkled with a dust of magic not known everywhere.

They are blasted too - and now no gardens are fair.


But peal the tune again!

(Your hand is not gone)

With eternal retreat and return

Let the dance go on.

The vague pretensions of dark shall not make us afraid

To dance, to hope - and attain not, here in this shade.




Donald Davidson

Dance Poetry
A comprehensive anthology
Edited by Alkis Raftis
Copyright 2012