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Lay for the Day
10th May

The birthday of Fred Astaire, transcendent terpsichorean and titan of tap, in Omaha, Nebraska in 1899.

[ Dance ]

Swirl of satin, a skirl of violins –
The dance begins.
The score
Persuades sure feet
To beat
Across a polished floor,
Surfers of an ocean
Sheerly motion,
Feeling light as foam that reaches
Up smooth beaches,

And we, not sleeping but dreaming,
Go too, streaming
With them as the lens’s
Lifts and cleanses
Our dimmed, immobile sense,
And all we long
To be becomes a trivial song
And all our heavy ills
Flotsam on a whirlpool of tails and frills.

* * * * *

Time has left the world a while
Into the care of us angels
Up and down the stair
With shoes for wings

What sores a starry pavement wears
Or pains these luxurious limbs
With which you are carried away
So long as we beam you need never know


John Gibbens
from Not Sleeping But Dreaming


The Lay Reader: an archive of the poetic calendar