Vellum dance

Armenian Manuscript, fragments. Thick vellum flyleaf Wellcome L0031105
Armenian Manuscript, fragments. Thick vellum flyleaf (pahpanak). The text is from the Gospel of St Mathew 21: 11-27, 10th century. Asian Collection courtesy of the Wellcome Trust via Wikimedia Commons. [CC-BY-4.0 (

Calligraphed with ancient ink,
the straitened letters claim release;
fling themselves like Butoh men

Bashed skin to skin, they
slap at you: Make us, Shape us
into that which we are
  a scriptured dervish
  of our Calligrapher.

I started writing a convoluted explanation of the metaphors woven into this verse, the themes and how the idea came to me. However, I think it is more interesting for the poem to stand without such buttresses. What do you think? Leave a thought. I’d be interested to read your comments.

The themes of writer and writing and the subject matter of letters and calligraphy may also be found in these poems:

On a meander
Proper Poetry
Cast them together
A day to fine for words

For more information about Butoh, the avante garde Japanese performance art/ dance form, read here or view these videos .

Twitter: @BeadedQuill
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In the Ocean: a year of poetry
Emily’s Poems for Modern Boys
Shining in Brightness: Selected Poems, 1999 – 2012

Published by BeadedQuill

Author of over 300 poems, also books, essays and short stories. Published in the Johannesburg Review of Books, Carapace and Type/Cast. BeadedQuill's titles are for sale via

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