Archives for posts with tag: 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 .

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

This project allows us
a ruler
with a bit more flexibility.

We are looking for
a firm footing
with a ruler, fully naked.

This will provide
a clear way forward – stripped of all
his clothing.

From January this year,
thanks to Johnathan,
the ruler has been on a raft.

We have been able to
cover him – our ruler – in gold dust
and send him into
the middle of the lake.

We send him out with mounds of jewels
to tip into the depths
while on the banks
the people sing and dance.

We also have operations in Cambridge, Bristol and Brazil.

We believe this expression of micro-cosmos
is a good policy tool.

Another poem in part inspired by an exhibition currently on in London – Beyond El Dorado: Power and Gold in Ancient Columbia at the British Museum.  The museum hosts accompanying free lunch-time lectures presented by curators and experts in the field, a few of which I have attended recently.

When the lectures open, I sit up attentively relishing every new piece of information. I must remember this, remember that. But the open notebook on my lap fills with doodles and interesting snatches, not of content, but of expression that comes out of the lecture.

In part this poem consists of jottings from the BM lunch-time lecture on El Dorado that I attended. The other bits are derived from the sort of meeting jargon anybody who has worked an office job may well recognize.

Preview my books of poetry:  Emily’s Poems for Modern Boys and  Shining in Brightness

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Sixteen years of stiffness
ease into front-splits
right side and left.

“Now you’re showing off.”

The yielding body laughs.
It remembers
how much more
it once could do.

Recently, we’ve been doing a lot of limbering up and stretching in classes. During my adolescence, I took ballet lessons three times a week. Perhaps I was not as strong or physically fit, but I was much more supple. It surprises me at how the old flexibilities are returning. The disadvantage is every area that eases reminds my body of how pliant it was 16 to 18 years ago. People comment at how I must be showing off. Inside I remember how much more I could do, and how I was never quite good enough as a ballet dancer.

It’s interesting.

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Once you have been bitten,
through your vein
the poison curses courses.

Through the pain
you writhe and sweat –
this fish caught in a net –

it dances.

The above is a reworking of this:


Once you have been bitten
through your vein
the only way to rid yourself
is to dance.

Once bitten through the vein,
the poison curses courses.
The only way to cleanse yourself?
To dance

Once you have been bitten,
through the pain
you writhe and sweat –
this fish caught in a net –

it dances.

Which do you prefer?

At the moment I seem to be on a fish theme, which is now branching into spiders. Of course, these are mythico-fictional animals. The creatures that feature most regularly in my life are the bumblebees who love the gutter outside my window and the dogs walked by their owners in a local wood.

For more of my poetry, preview my recently published first volume: SHINING IN BRIGHTNESS.
I tweet regularly as @BeadedQuill.