It’s a great month to create collections of poetry that reflect thresholds in our lives. Gathering a meaningful collection of quotes or poetry and storing it in a journal or a laptop can become a sacred space or resting place to enter into when you just need to be reminded of those “certain” things that we so often forget- those things that change with the ingredients of time and experience, such as: awkwardness at 13 can lead to elegance at 30, stammering in middle school can evolve into eloquence in graduate school, and a first dance in adolescence can be the doorway into the school of life experience. Here’s a lovely example of this by poet, Charles Fishman. Feel free to sit in the hammock of his words for awhile:
Learning to Dance, 1956
For Marlene Broich
It was the 50s, and all of us
were kids, but you were older—
almost a woman—and you would
teach me to dance. You were
the dark-haired child in a family
of blondes, slightly exotic, wilder,
my best friend’s sister.
In your father’s basement,
you took my hand and showed me
how to hold you—how to hold
a woman. I was fourteen and knew
already how to be awkward. You knew
I was falling into shadows.
When I breathed your hair, I was no longer in the forest
but had broken through
to a clearing where tall grasses whispered
and swayed, where white-petalled daisies
and violet clover blossomed in profusion.
You moved me deeper into the music
and made a meadow spring up around me.
Your body showed me that I had strength
to change the moment, if only the quiet
power of a summer breeze . . .
When you said I would be a good dancer,
that I had rhythm
that I could swing,
I held you close: some day,
I would find the one
who would pull me near to her in love,
not mercy; I would dance with her
and learn her secret names.