Friday, September 4, 2015

Slow Dancer

I cannot dance upon my Toes --
No Man instructed me --
But oftentimes, among my mind,
A Glee possesseth me,

That had I Ballet knowledge --
Would put itself abroad
In Pirouette to blanch a Troupe --
Or lay a Prima, mad,

And though I had no Gown of Gauze --
No Ringlet, to my Hair,
Nor hopped to Audiences -- like Birds,
One Claw upon the Air,

Nor tossed my shape in Eider Balls,
Nor rolled on wheels of snow
Till I was out of sight, in sound,
The House encore me so --

Nor any know I know the Art
I mention -- easy -- Here --
Nor any Placard boast me --
It's full as Opera --
Emily Dickinson, "I cannot dance upon my Toes"

26 comments:

FreeThinke said...

Ah! One of Emily's poems I've never known. I thought I'd read every one of them but somehow this escaped me. Thank you for filling in a gap in my knowledge of such a beloved figure as E.D.

Emily may not have been able to "dance on her toes," but she could do something even better and more noteworthy,

She could dance IN HER MIND.

I once set twenty of Emily's pieces to music. Unfortunately, these existed only in a smudgy penciled manuscript. This was before the days when making copies was so easy and so common. Because of my carelessness and stupidity the score was stolen from my car by someone who only wanted the briefcase.

Impossible to recreate what I had done. Like the final movement of Schubert's Unfinished Symphony, which was obliterated by his accidental overturning of an inkwell, the Song Cycle I created just for the love of it is lost and gone forever.

No one has ever beat path to my door eager to reward me for the work I've done but the loss was a great personal tragedy. I still believe those songs were probably the best thing I've ever done.

I don't blame the thief. I blame myself.

FreeThinke said...

Another of Emily's rare joyful "dance" poems –– one I set to dissonant, ecstatic music in exuberant waltz time:

I taste a liquor never brewed
From tankards scooped in pearl
Not all the vats upon the Rhine
Yield such an alcohol.

Inebriate of air am I
And debauchée of dew ––
Reeling through endless summer days
From inns of molten blue!

Not till the landlord turns the bee
Out of the foxglove's door ––
Till butterflies renounce their drams
I shall but drink the more ––

Till seraphs swing their snowy hats
And saints to windows run ––
T see te little tippler
Leaning against the sun.


~ Emily Dickinson (1830-1886)

Thersites said...

- Source

FreeThinke said...

________ PRIMARY SOURCES ________

Look well upon the men who dig in mines,
And work machines in mills and factories grim.
Be aware that those who tend the vines
Or till the soil give much for wages slim.
Reaping sowing, weeding, hoeing make
Full the nation’s store of nutriment.
Overland the burly truckers take
Rich provisions and accoutrement
Coast to coast. The teamsters load and haul
Enormous hordes of stuff that we’ve empowered,
Shipped in freighters, stored in silos tall,
Delivered, well-displayed, and then devoured.
Awards are due the goods and who supplies them,
Yet the wise despise the guys who advertise them.

~ FreeThinke - The Sandpiper, Summer, 1996

FreeThinke said...

Some keep the Sabbath going to church
I keep it staying at home ––
With a Bobolink for a Chorister ––
And an Orchard for a dome.

Some keep the Sabbath in Surplice
I just spread my wings ––
And instead of ringing the Bell for Church
Our little Sexton sings.

God preaches –– a noted Clergyman ––
And the sermons are never long ––
So instead of getting the Heaven at last
I'm going all along.


~ Emily Dickinson (1830-1885)

FreeThinke said...

On the Slow Dance of Death Through Cultural Asphyxiation


______ PHEW! _____

Here is my position:
I'm more fond of erudition
Than street talk about coition.
These rapsters have IQ,
But I'll tell you, what they do,
Should be flushed right down the loo.
I've never genuflected
For efforts misdirected
That should be disrespected.
References to farts
Don't belong in the fine Arts,
Nor do turds belong on tarts.
I don't mean to be a snob,
But this parlance of the mob
Off on us BS doth fob.
Acting out may be erotic,
But relating it's neurotic.
Rappin' 'bout it is psychotic.
‘Tis enough to gag a maggot,
Or a jaded aged faggot,
So take its toe and tag it,
Then put it in a drawer
Ask, “What did you live for?”
Then wrap this rapcrap war.
It’s been fun,
But no one won.
I hope it’s done.
And now you have heard ––
Direct, not inferred ––
From this unabashed nerd.
His very Last Word
On the Cultural Crap
Some are pleased to call Rap.


~ FreeThinke

FreeThinke said...

Hey, man, it's LONELY in these here parts this week.

FreeThinke said...

Despite our determined efforts to participate and hopefully to stimulate but never to agitate it appears we've sown our precious seeds amidst the rocks and boulders.

Masturbation may be better than no sex at all, but I'm here to tell you it's a poor substitute for the real deal.

If a tree falls in the woods, but no one's there to witness it, DOES it –– or does it NOT –– make a sound?

~ The Pied Piper of Solitary Confinement

nicrap said...

FT is right. It is indeed LONELY.

Where are you, fj? and how are you?

Thersites said...

Sorry folks. I've been away up in Long Island, NY spending time with the wife's family. Just got back last night.

nicrap said...

Not Staten Island? I was reading today it's been nicknamed Shaolin.

nicrap said...

p.s. Hope the trip was good. :)

-FJ said...

We journeyed across Staten Island on the way to the Verrazano Bridge... funny you should mention Shaolin. My MiL's neighbor married a Chinese woman, and her parents now "visit" six months a year from China and manage the back yard "garden". So I suppose there really is a Chinese connection being formed.

And yes, it was a good trip. My daughter visited from Astoria, Queens for a few days, as did my eldest son and his wife, from Baltimore. Hopefully we've had enough of each others company to last a while... ;)

nicrap said...

lol. No such thing as enough of loved ones' company i should say. :p

Source, above. ;)

Lyin' Brian said...

lol! I guess I missed the Wu Tang connection...

New York City alone, according to the 2010 Census, has now become home to more than one million Asian Americans, greater than the combined totals of San Francisco and Los Angeles.[1] New York contains the highest total Asian population of any U.S. city proper.[2] In 2010, 6.0% of New York City was of Chinese ethnicity, with about forty percent of Chinese New Yorkers living in the borough of Queens alone. Koreans made up 1.2% of the city's population, and Japanese 0.3%. Filipinos were the largest southeast Asian ethnic group at 0.8%, followed by Vietnamese, who made up 0.2% of New York City's population in 2010. Indians are the largest South Asian group, comprising 2.4% of the city's population, with Bangladeshis and Pakistanis at 0.7% and 0.5%, respectively.

nicrap said...

:)

Does it upset you, the increasin cultural mix (another one of my impertinent questions)? :)

Thersites said...

Yes and no.

It upsets me from the standpoint that the rate of cultural change is accelerating due to mismanagement by government officials and their petulant refusal to enforce existing immigration laws. And no, the cultures themselves don't really bother me, provided they are assimilationist at heart, and not trying to establish ethnic colonies that reject or fight against the establishment of a common liberal-American leitkultur.

Thersites said...

99% of populist 'resentment' of immigrants in the United States stems from the economics of the problem. As more and more American companies went international and "off-shored" their manufacturing operations, and more and more immigrants entered the country illegally and took over many low-wage occupations, the blue-collar 20-30% of American workers displaced were rendered obsolete and are now largely un-employed and dependent upon public assistance. And as time goes on, these percentages will keep rising. And immigration is making the problem more, not less, difficult.

nicrap said...

A cousin of mine is getting married to an American girl (Caucasian).... They will be married in January here in India. I hope it works for them and for the family as well. :)

Thersites said...

Me too! :)

nicrap said...

99% of populist 'resentment' of immigrants in the United States stems from the economics of the problem.

Yes, i can see that. And yet — the fear of the 'barbaroi' has a long tradition...and not just in the West. :)

FreeThinke said...

BOO!

-FJ said...

...of course, classism is another problem entirely.

Give us your prosperous, your ambitious and highly educated elites, yearning to breath free...

...right, FT? ;)

There's a "high" culture and many, MANY "low" cultures... in which ne'r the twain shall meet. India has castes. We have "income brackets".

-FJ said...

Chances are, if you can afford to live in MY neighborhood, you're my kind of riff-raff!

Mrs. Grundy said...

Welcome to Belmont. Former Fishtown residents need not apply... :P

nicrap said...

:)