The DanceWilliam Carlos Williams
In Breughel’s great picture, The Kermess,
the dancers go round, they go round and
around, the squeal and the blare and the
tweedle of bagpipes, a bugle and fiddles
tipping their bellies, (round as the thick-
sided glasses whose wash they impound)
their hips and their bellies off balance
to turn them. Kicking and rolling about
the Fair Grounds, swinging their butts, those
shanks must be sound to bear up under such
rollicking measures, prance as they dance
in Breughel’s great picture, The Kermess
William Carlos Williams reads this one aloud.
My love of this poet comes from my undergrad poetry professor, Dr. Isaac Johnson, who was at least six foot seven, thin, bespectacled, and dark. Though he looked like a ponderous professor, he sounded like Isaac Hayes; though his voice was soporific, his wit was razor sharp and quite dry. He read this poem in his sonorous voice with a irregularly measured cadence that suggested a strange but stately dance. Williams had a much higher voice, a much quicker cadence suggesting that the rollicking gallop is just on the verge of being out of control. The two stylings intersect perfectly to me as dance, just as the picture suggests.
The idea of dance appeals in a world where things have grown a bit dim as of late, and the mind is boggled and bedeviled by the ridiculous and the mundane. Lighten up and cha-cha over to ChatRabbit to see the most amazing dancing snowflake ever, made by the COMPLETELY fabulous Salley Mavor, who has truly provided me with a huge smile today. Visit the Robert’s Snow: Blogging for a Cure Blog-a-thon organizers for the entire schedule of today’s snowflakes. Then, celebrate at Big A little a for more poetic karma goodness. Happy Friday.