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Poetry. I like it, I do. With poetry, I am no stranger. As proof, you should know that I have a fairly sizeable collection of poetry volumes which spans the likes of the usual to the obscure—from Poe, Dickinson, and Frost to Lorca, Dowson, and Merton. I, myself, write quite a bit of poetry. You’ll find some of it right here at The Angels’ Portion. I even wrote a book about how poetry can serve the homiletical exercise—that is, that preachers can become better at their craft through the study and practice of poetry.
But “dance poetry”? Am I so sheltered that I didn’t know this is actually a something? And not just any something, but an exercise in expression that you can actually pay big tuition dollars to a major university in order to learn and one day be adorned with a degree that gives you the right to be called “master.”
Did I mention that dance poetry appears to be an appropriate form of expression for commemorating the victims of a mass shooting? Indeed, ’tis true. I dare not deceive you. I witnessed it. I turned on the television, and with my own eyes did I behold such an event on the campus of an American university.
Rightly, I’ll admit that as I watched, I was intrigued—as one is intrigued while watching a four hundred pound man make his ninth trip by motorized scooter to the all-you-can-eat buffet table. I say this admitting that, even as the folks who swayed and ducked and twisted and turned for the cameras were most likely called up as the Top Guns from among the dance poetry ranks, as they performed their plotted maneuvers, to me it appeared as though one of two things was occurring—either they were performing a wildly dramatized and slow motioned reenactment of the tragedy, or they were brazenly mocking it. It looked ridiculous—like they were high. But maybe that’s what it was supposed to look like. I don’t know. I cannot say for sure. What I can say is that, thankfully, the Christian Church hasn’t succumbed to employing such jip in her solemn moments and holy spaces.
Ah, dangit. I forgot about liturgical dance, the Church’s version of mocking solemnity.
Well, now. Hold on. When you really think about it, it’s not that hard to see the connection between a swirling flock of silk-donned prancers in leotards and the story of salvation through the life, death, and resurrection of Christ. It really does make complete sense—at least as much sense as the same goslings spinning in interpretation of a gunman killing 32 people and injuring 17 more.
Too bad we can’t employ dance poetry or liturgical dance for other events or locales of great seriousness. Wouldn’t it be neat if hospitals had a regular troupe of dance poets in their emergency rooms who, through silent alienesque movements, could help the visitors bridge the gap between suffering and, well, whatever exists in the wordless world of people who think dance poetry is appropriate for such a venue? Even better, what if funeral homes did the same thing? Mourners could sit in those little folding chairs near the casket and watch coiling liturgical dancers contorting and poeticizing the importance of, you know, what it means to really feel the uncomfortable pall of death at a loved one’s funeral.
I better quit before this gets any stupider—because it’s starting to feel pretty stupider.
I’ll take the drink. And I’m going to make it the last in the collection of the Jefferson’s Ridiculously Small Batch Wood Experiment editions—in particular, the No. 12.
With an undulating spin, the cap is removed and the ambered broth is made to find its way into the Glencairn. There it gives an unhurried but sparkling swirl while fanning a creel of skinned fruits—cherries and wild raspberries. Pleasant. Very pleasant.
In the moments that follow, its motion is careful, fervent, entrancing. It crafts a nimble arabesque of mint, a tendue of cashews, and a sissone of vanilla. And with that final leap, it retires quickly to a softer, sweeter nectar—pear syrup and wheat bread.
Ah, yes. This was a fine and diverting dram. It kind of makes me want to dance. I think I may need to keep a hip flask of this stuff close at hand, especially when I take the car over to the fix-it shop later today. I’m sure that the others lounging around the waiting room anticipating the despair from the inevitable announcement that their repair will cost about a thousand dollars might just benefit from a little bit of dance poetry to help them ease into the suffering.
Or I could do what’s more appropriate: sit still and pray silently.