being part I of “Four for Sir John Davies”
by Theodore RoethkeIs that dance slowing in the mind of man That made him think the universe could hum? That great wheel turns its axle when it can; I need a place to sing, and dancing-room, And I have made a promise to my ears I'll sing and whistle romping with the bears. For they are all my friends: I saw one slide Down a steep hillside on a cake of ice,— Or was that in a book? I think with pride: A caged bear rarely does the same thing twice In the same way: O watch his body sway!— This animal remembering to be gay. I tried to fling my shadow at the moon, The while my blood leaped with a wordless song. Though dancing needs a master, I had none To teach my toes to listen to my tongue. But what I learned there, dancing all alone, Was not the joyless motion of a stone. I take this cadence from a man named Yeats; I take it, and I give it back again: For other tunes and other wanton beats Have tossed my heart and fiddled through my brain. Yes, I was dancing-mad, and how That came to be the bears and Yeats would know.
The Dance (from “Four for Sir John Davies”)
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