Dancer

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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

 

     1

 

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.

 

     2

 

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

102?

 

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.

 

     3

 

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

     dance

is rooted in silence, stillness –

 

silence, a way of hearing the music that never stops

stillness, a way of hearing that silence

 

     4

 

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

space.

 

     5

 

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.

 

——

'Dancer'

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

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 lotus pond,

there to drink coffee with a friend

while scoping each other's poems

for flaws, for modest bounties.

 

When its moment came, the page

curled into a scroll then was unfurled

by a waspish wind, borne aloft

and delivered like a letter into

a glimmer between lotus leaves.

 

The sun sparkled. The poem,

unretrievable, slanted skywards for now

amid chalices of white glass

tinctured with the pinks of amaranth, coral

 

and, movingly, the skin of that young raven

glimpsed beneath wind-parted plumage

as it stepped over the lawn, hesitant,

its eyes in thrall to the newness of all life.

 

In the hazy, aromatic air

the lotus flowers, loftily poised

above their leaves, became

for a paused second,

 

     an array of lamps

     within a library

     where a florilegium

     lay open to reveal

 

     a lotus – itself a book,

     composed of sculpted pages

     encircling each other,

     each lit from within. 

 

Time then flowed forward

as I contemplated

the random poetry of drops,

fine as perfume spray,

upon those veined, succulent pages,

 

some capturing the shine of other drops

and even that ultimate glint

on its own blue page,

the sky of this day.

 

At the Solstice

 

Days of the dragonfly, the cicada.

Yet even in this mild zone

an upheaval of plenitude –

a month's rain in one day

bathing the deepest roots.

 

I lie meditating, break off

to scribble notes for a poem,

this poem, resume slow breathing.

In the room somewhere

a page falls to the floor.

 

At just this moment I recall

the decades of melancholia, despair –

small change in the scheme of things.

Another lifetime would be needed

to voice my thankfulness for the rest.

 

To the bay! – with sightings en route

of a blackbird whose closed beak

holds a bead of sunlight,

a ribboned skyburst of mynahs,

each white wing patch, irradiated.

 

The cliffs with their wild gardens.

Down the slopes, agapanthus,

silver-green succulents,

by the path, clumps of tea tree,

gorse, sea-heath, saltbush.

 

Within the bars of a leafy cage

a splendid fairy-wren takes pause

as if to contemplate his options –

all simple, all blue.

Swallows orbit, never mistaken,

 

while high above, the inspirational

dignity of ibis, with one shared goal,

tending the spaces between –

a calibrated closeness amid

knots, velleities of air.

 

The sky, the sea – two kinds of

transparency, almost seamless.

Later, dusk winds will draw

darkness up through the waters,

scrawls of ink on glistening pages.

 

 

 

 

 

Diane FaheyDiane Fahey’s fourteenth poetry collection, Glass Flowers, is forthcoming from Puncher & Wattmann in November. She has been the recipient of various poetry awards and writing grants, and holds a PhD in Creative Writing from UWS. She lives on Wadawurrung Country, in a bayside town on the Bellarine Peninsula, Victoria. dianefaheypoet.com

 

Topic tags: Diane Fahey, poetry

 

 

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Existing comments

Reading this fine poetry makes me feel like....maybe not dancing, but walking.


Pam | 03 August 2021  

Beautiful poems with an elegant and deep gaze, Diane, thank you!


David Ades | 05 August 2021  

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