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Louis Untermeyer

 

Louis Untermeyer (1885-1977), American poet.

 

Dickson, Edward R.: Poems of the dance. New York, Knopf, 1921.

 

 

Isadora Duncan Dancing (Iphigenia in Aulis)

 

I

 

Fling the stones and let them all

 

                         Lie;

 

Take a breath, and toss the ball

 

                         High....

 

And before it strikes the floor

 

Of the hoar and agèd shore,                

 

Sweep them up, though there should be

 

Even more than two or three.

 

Add a pebble, then once more

 

Fling the stones and let them all

 

                         Lie;

 

Take a breath, and toss the ball High

 

II

 

Rises now the sound of ancient chants

 

And the circling figure treads more slowly.

 

Thus the risen gods themselves must dance

 

While the world grows rapturous and holy.

 

Thus the gods might dream a new Romance

 

Moving to the sighs of flute and psalter;

 

Till the last of all the many chants,

 

And the priestess sinks before the altar.

 

III

 

Cease, oh cease the murmured singing;

 

Hush the numbers brave or blithe;

 

For she enters, gravely swinging,

 

Lowering and lithe-

 

Dark and vengeful, as the ringing

 

Scythe meets scythe.

 

While the flame is fiercely sweeping,

 

All her virgin airs depart;

 

She is, without smiles and weeping,

 

Or a maiden's art,

 

Stern and savage as the leaping

 

Heart meets heart.

 

IV

 

Now the tune grows frantic,

 

Now the torches flare-

 

Wild and corybantic

 

Echoes fill the air.

 

With a sudden sally,

 

All the voices shout;

 

And the bacchic rally

 

Turns into a rout.

 

Here is life that surges

 

Through each burning vein;

 

Here is joy that purges

 

Every creeping pain.

 

Even sober Sadness

 

Casts aside her pall,

 

Till with buoyant madness

 

She must swoon and fall.....

 

Isadora Duncan Dancing (Chopin)

 

Faint preludings on a flute,

 

And she swims before us;

 

Shadows follow in persuit,

 

Like a phantom chorus.

 

Sense and sound are intertwined

 

Through her necromancy,

 

Till our dreaming souls are blind

 

To all things but fancy.

 

Haunted woods and perfumed nights;

 

Swift and soft desires;

 

Roses, violet-colored lights,

 

And the sound of lyres;

 

Vague chromatics on a flute-

 

All are subtly blended

 

Till the instrument grows mute

 

And the dance is ended.

 

 

 

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Sunday the 28th. . Isadora Duncan Pundect
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