Dance on the Earth.
Dance in the Sky.
Every Breath is a Dance.

Los Voladores are the original aerial dancers.  The dance originates from ancient Mesoamerican ceremonies.  Dancers climb a 30-meter pole and fling themselves into the air.  Watching them reminded me of this poem by Mary Oliver. The poem’s imagery also evokes the wildfires raging in California.

sky dancer

Where Does Dance Begin?
Where Does the Dance Begin, Where Does It End?
Don’t call this world adorable, or useful, that’s not it.
It’s frisky, and a theater for more than fair winds.
The eyelash of lightning is neither good nor evil.
The struck tree burns like a pillar of gold.
But the blue rain sinks, straight to the white
feet of the trees
whose mouths open.
Doesn’t the wind, turning in circles, invent the dance?
Haven’t the flowers moved, slowly, across Asia, then Europe,
until at last, now, they shine
in your own yard?
Don’t call this world an explanation, or even an education.
When the Sufi poet whirled, was he looking
outward, to the mountains so solidly there
in a white-capped ring, or was he looking
to the center of everything: the seed, the egg, the idea
that was also there,
beautiful as a thumb
curved and touching the finger, tenderly,
little love-ring,
as he whirled,
oh jug of breath,
in the garden of dust?

 

A PAINTING AND A POEM IN SPANISH AND ENGLISH

This poem, written today, was inspired by the video below of Sara Baras performing NIÑA DEL FUEGO.  The study in oil, Castañuelas, was done in 2014. In the poem, the sounds move from the first line, to the second, to the third and finally to the fourth line.

NIÑA DEL FUEGO

TAK taka TAK, TAK taka TAK.
The heels of the gypsy speak
To the man in the corner watching.

Sorrow.
Taka taka tak. (Shhh.)
Saying what must not be spoken.

Anger.
TAKA TAKA TAK!
Coiled like a snake beneath the surface.

Her compás burns red-hot
Like her dress.
TAK. TaTAK.

Like her tears.
Like the broken places
That cut her like glass.
TAK. Takatakatak. TAK.

NIÑA DEL FUEGO

TAK taka TAK, TAK taka TAK
Los talones del gitana hablan
Al hombre en la esquina viendo

Dolor.
Taka taka tak. (Shhh.)
Diciendo lo que no se debe decir.

Enfado.
TAKA TAKA TAK!
Enrollado como un serpiente bajo la superficie.

Su compás queman rojo vivo
Como su vestido.
Tak. TaTak.

Como sus lágrimas
Como los lugares que la cortan
Como vidrios rotos.
TAK. Takatakatak. TAK.
.