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  • 02 August 2021
  Selected poetry Dancer Reflections on The inner stillness of Eileen Kramer by Andrew Lloyd Greensmith

I do feel that I'm full of this beauty of breath. Breath is life.

                                                                             – Eileen Kramer, 2017


Sometimes, time

is against you, it is your enemy

and sometimes it is with you

     as you walk on, dance on

     through the wilds of your life –

as if time, also, has learnt

to breathe in deeply,

hold, accept,

breathe slowly out –

     relaxing into

     the pure moment of itself.


What might someone, 

now and always a dancer,

still teaching others

how to craft and shape

the spirit of dance,

look like, at the age of


I'm standing before

the portrait of a woman

with closed eyes,

her hands delicately cupping,

almost, her tilted head.

In her face, in her composure,

a flower-like serenity

that speaks of

care, reverence,

a thankful communion

with life's gifts of

sacred energy, awareness, time.

The weave of her russet dress

is shadowed,

glazed by light.

She meditates –

at the mercy and yet,

and yet,

utterly, enduringly, present.


The painter, a plastic surgeon

of the face and head –

knowing, therefore

all too well, how to read

the contours of malaise –

now gives us this reading  

of beauty, of William Blake's 

'the human form divine'

and we are invited

to contemplate how


is rooted in silence, stillness –

silence, a way of hearing the music that never stops

stillness, a way of hearing that silence


Once, so long ago,

I saw a dancer in performance

begin to shape

an arm movement,

a meditative arc,

more slowly, it seemed,

than the others around her

as if letting the lit air

carry her arm's weight,

yet completing that gesture,

that act of belief, first,

its grace vibrating

in now silent



Once, so long ago,

two of us sat high on a hill 

watching our friends dance below, 

circling each other on the grass 

wildly, yet as one.

When I said, with irony,

'We are up here,

looking down at the Dance of Life',

his response was:

'You can only see the Dance of Life

if you are in it.'

Dusk came,

the dancers danced on.



The inner stillness of Eileen Kramer by Andrew Lloyd Greensmith is included, with information on Eileen Kramer and on the artist, in the section on The Archibald Prize for 2017, artgallery.nsw.gov.au

'the human form divine' is from William Blake's poem, 'The Divine Image'.

Archibald Prize 2017 finalist Andrew Lloyd Greensmith, 'The inner stillness of Eileen Kramer' © the artist. Photo: Felicity Jenkins, AGNSW

'A History of the Lotus'

For months, alluringly,

the title floated in my mind,

yet I held back –

the research, without horizon 

and the lotus itself, ineffable:

each gold-centred bloom

an icon of sacred wholeness;

trillions of them gracing lakes, 

waterways, across millennia.

At last, a hasty first draft in hand, 

I sat in the Gardens by the