Many thanks to Matt for the future-memory and one of the best lines a poem can have. Oh, to head Westwards…
One, two, three, four.
The soles are revealed
With the undressing of the dancer
Ready to pour a tray of flames
Down the spine of those who stop to watch.
A stamping from such shallow heights
Signals the need for minute rapture
And carafes pause in their pouring,
Captured, silent, seven
Pairs of black eyes fix themselves
On old, old blood sewn in
The bustles formed around her hips
As six new strings breathe earth again.
This is the third, tonight
And those who watch, agape, may tell
Something was sealed
And fired in terracotta, for all
Like brush-strokes in the hands
Of a master on the scaffold
Telling old stories
In new and fearful ways
(See, children come and children grow
But still speak of Michelangelo)
But this set down
In dried mud and hay
And this is much more
Than an old dance in Spain.
For what are we are but stories?
Beaten into earth
And formed between the toes, woken
By the finger-snaps of dancers in old dust.
(And this is why we listen
And this is why we watch
And why we should not mourn for that
Which is never lost).