Last night I walked around the periphery of an art gallery reading poetry and looking at the art that had been created in response to these words. It was a real treat — a surprise, a gift. I was almost overwhelmed by the experience. The woman who chose to recreate my poem in art was a calligrapher, so it was a joy to see my words recreated in wispy strands and stars. It was perfect. I want to thank Kim M. Baker, the poet who conceived the idea, and the Wickford (RI) Art Association, that provided the time and space to make it happen. The exhibit is open through Aug. 25. I hope to return to get my fill of words and art again.
This is the poem that my artist made dance.
Dancing in the Dark
After her Saturday night bath,
the girl donned a worn flannel
nightgown, knee-high socks
and slippers to ward off January
drafts sifting across linoleum.
She sat in front of a black-and-white
TV with her little brothers and sister
awaiting the first popping bubbles
of The Lawrence Welk Show.
On cue they jumped up and circled
round the room, banging into the couch,
then rocking chair and coffee table.
She dreamed of being a Lennon Sister,
tap dancing with Bobby and Barbara.
Later, she ascended stairs to a bedroom
filled with two double beds, three
sisters, and a hundred unshared dreams.
She fell asleep to the beat of a winter
blizzard roaring down from the North,
past solitary farms and barren fields.
The tempest rattled the windows
until she opened one eye to see Bobby
urging her to join him on the dance floor.
And she stepped out into that vast
ballroom, took his hand and tapped
across silver stars till morning.