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It’s been a long time since I wrote poems which dance-

And danced badly myself.

Still, sometimes even a stiff knee

Can beat good rhythm.

Now I go back shamefully

     To the first ones:

She had tangled bronze hair which hung

In one thick braid down to the waist,

And when she danced faster and faster,

It flew heavily after her

Like a tamed bird.

And I often return to Jindrishka

    (Although I don’t feel like it).

She vanished in the deep grass of this world

And I haven’t seen her since.

But then,

Just as my feet slide into my shoes,

    I remember her

And the shoes take me to that face circled with ash blonde hair.

The third one, the one who always believed

That love was just loud kisses

And gentle words,

Is now angry with me.

The one under whose window I used to whistle

When she refused to show herself to me

    Danced superbly.

She always lost her little combs,

Broke her bracelet,

Her madonna’s medal spilled to the floor,

And who knows what else.

But there isn’t enough of anything as long as we live.

The feet suddenly stop,

The dance breaks up in the middle;

No need for strong arms until winter comes

And the palms of hands save themselves

    For other work.

Finally, the last one appears.

She’s confused, doesn’t dance;

    That’s why she’s the most beautiful,

And is, until death, alone.

And now that one does not exist either.


Jaroslav Seifert

Dance Poetry
A comprehensive anthology
Edited by Alkis Raftis
Copyright 2012