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Poems / To Mercedes de Acosta

 

 

To Mercedes de Acosta

                                             

                                     Beneath a forehead 

                                     Broad & Bright 

                                     Shine Eyes 

                                     Clear wells 

                                     of light-
                                     A Slender Body 

                                     Soft [above “Soft” is written “Hard”]- White 

                                     To be the Source 

                                     Of my delight-
                                     Two sprouting breasts 

                                     round & Sweet 

                                     Invite my hungry 

                                     mouth to Eat 

                                     from whence two 

                                     nipples-firm & 

                                     pink persuade my 

                                     thirsty soul to drink 

                                     & lower still 

                                     a Secret place 

                                     where I’d fain 

                                     hide my burning face 

                                     Arch Angel 

                                     from Another Sphere 

                                     God Sent to 

                                     light my pathway 

                                     here 

                                     I kneel in Adoration 

                                     dear 

                                     My kisses like a swarm of Bees 

                                     Would find Their way 

                                     between thy knees 

                                     & suck the honey 

                                     of thy lips 

                                     Embracing thy 

                                     Two slender hips 

                                                          1927 

 

 
Published in Dillon, Millicent: After Egypt: Isadora Duncan and Mary Cassat. New York, Dutton, William 
Abrahams, 1990, p. 350-351
 
 
The poem is from the de Acosta Archive at the Rosenbach Museum.
 
 
 

 

 

 

Poems / To the poet Douglas Ainslie

 

 

To the poet Douglas Ainslie

 

                                 

                                       When first you kissed my finger tips.

                                       Although my heart was glad.

                                       No answering smiles come to my lips.

                                       Which drooped wan [?] and sad.

                                       My mind would then the question ask

                                       Why should this strange thing be?

                                       Found the puzzling quite a task

                                       But this it seemed to me

                                       The kiss you gave my finger tips

                                       Was envied by my amorous lips.

 

 
Published in Dillon, Millicent: After Egypt: Isadora Duncan and Mary Cassat. New York, Dutton, William
Abrahams, 1990.p. 208
 
Isadora sent the poem to Douglas Ainslie in a letter. In her autobiography she mentions that he fell in love with
her in England.

 

 

Articles / Isadora Duncan

 

 

Isadora Duncan
My dances
letter published in an Athenian newpaper
Athens, 22.11.1903 
 

 

     I wanted to write to everybody who supported my work last winter, sincerely as to a good friend, because I feel that all of you who have helped in any way in this are my friends and we have some rapport. And for exactly this reason I wanted to reciprocate and come up to all your expectations. 
 
     The evening I left Berlin I promised I would come back in October to dance, and to dance more perfectly too. The excuse for my not doing this lies precisely in this search for greater perfection. I really want to do something better, and for this reason I am still in Athens forever trying. - Here in Athens, where about two thousand years ago lived a people, who recognised the beauty of the human body, the sanctity of harmony in form and movement, and who considered dance a science and a religion. 
 
     Dance is made up of two elements. Rhythm and form. Form is the melody and rhythm the basis of dance, and both are inseparable, since the rhythm corresponds to the form. How can I already unite these two elements in myself and enter into the programme I have to perform? We know the rhythm of ancient poetry and have some clues to ancient music. But how can we rediscover the rhythm of the ancients that, incorporated in the human body in movement, is called dance? What sources and help do we have for this? 
 
     As regards form we have endless sources in the ancient bas-reliefs and sculptural works, and even in the ruins of the temples and the lines of ancient architecture we can find living teachers and sure guides. But the rhythm? Has it been lost, perhaps? Surely it is not possible to find any trace of it? 
 
     No! This has been preserved too, however, since we have the old choruses as a key to finding it. The composition of the choruses in the ancient dramas contributes to the conveying of the poet's idea about the recitation, the music and the movements. And in the ancient bas-reliefs or statuettes the groups of dances are living, giving impressions of the movements of hands, head and body, dancing, as it were, something that is more important, the livelier side of the  
idea. 
 
     The dance of the Greeks has not died. It is discovered after the passage of so many years, as the beauty of the human body itself has also stayed, restored, when it is free and vigorous, through the movements of the deeper meanings of an idea. This is the true dance, but it needs thorough work on composition in order to give back its noble harmonies to the world. I am working on this. And this is also the reason for the disruption of my programme. I am making an effort and am investigating the rhythm and form in the choruses of the "Suppliants" of Aeschylus:
 
Φρόντισον και γενού πανδίκως 
ευσεβής πρόξενος ταν φυγάδα μη προδώς, 
ταν έκαθεν εκβολαίς δυσθέοις ορμέναν 
μηδ'ιδής μ'εξ εδράν πολυθέων 
ρυσιασθείσαν, ώ παν κράτος έχων χθονός. 
Μη τιτλής ταν ικέτιν εισιδείν 
από βροτέων βία δίκας αγομέναν 
ιππηδόν αμπύκων 
πολυμίτων πέπλων τ'επιλαβάς εμών. 
 
     Am I wrong in saying that dance consists of these? I am taking pains and I will find out. It is of course very hard work for my weak powers, and I recall and appreciate the friendship and the encouragement you gave me recently in Berlin, especially on that evening when, leaving Berlin, I said that I wanted to return in October to dance better. 
 
And this will happen. 
 
Athens, 22nd November 1903 
ISADORA DUNCAN 
Letter from Athens to the editor of "Die Woche" in Berlin
 
 
Translated from the Greek by Christopher Copeman
Published in Raftis, Alkis: Isadora Duncan and the artists (in Greek with English
supplement). Athens, Way of Life Publications & Dora Stratou Theater, 2002, 222 p.
 

 

 

 

Writings / Poems

 

 

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                             To the poet Douglas Ainslie

                             To Mercedes de Acosta

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Duncan, Isadora: "My dances", letter published in an Athenian newpaper. Athens, 22/11/1903. 

 

 

 

 

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Wednesday the 23rd. . Isadora Duncan Pundect
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