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For Mwalima Ray McKethan


From vocal cords of veracity

Ten million volumes of erudition erupt

With volcanic impulse

Into a learning moment of molten lucidity

As one hundred million brain cells

Celebrate the meaning of movement

Within the divinity of dance.

Behold a steady stream of sagacity

Flowing from the secret to the sacred

As the streetwise sage speaks of a land

Where Little Willie leaps out

& Big Lester leaps in

& Big Flatfoot Floogie lindy hops with little red shoes -

As the same sunwise sage speaks of a time

When eternal bushes burn & ecstatic bud’s bounce

& infidels dance on the holy ground of hardwood floors

Before becoming be-bop believers

In the bluesfired key of B-flat major.

From vocal cords of validity

Sagacity screams of “divide and conquer” dancelessness

A deployment of demons

Burying a world feet under a wall of flowers

As soldiers of the sage defend the dance

While a new millennium issues McKethan rayguns

In the battle to bring back the ballroom

In the battle to bring back the big band

In the war to make them one again.


George Edward Tait

Dance Poetry
A comprehensive anthology
Edited by Alkis Raftis
Copyright 2012