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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)




Fling the stones and let them all




Take a breath, and toss the ball




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




Take a breath, and toss the ball High




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.




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.




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.





Friday the 23rd. . Isadora Duncan Pundect
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