Sunday, June 25, 2017

Leap, Spectral Rose

Joyce dancing the Odamesque w/Danyen Powell 
on her 80th birthday, Aug. 7, 2004
—Photo by Katy Brown, Davis, CA

—Tom Goff, Carmichael, CA

I sing of one good poet whose words dance
not quite the bergamasque: the Odamasque
alone will serve to name the magic prance
which no urbane Venetian nor suave Basque
can claim. One odalisque-nude yearning glance
from one soft half-concealed face—no flask
of liquor nor gunpowder ignites the dance
as do the almost unseen eyelights ask

that someone match her ardent rondo swerves,
first footfalls out then footfalls back again,
while bows and bends blend hints with faint fan-flirts:
sly woman equals amorous roguish man
in dulcet indirection. Night sky-curves
bring tristes tropiques with notes of wistful hurt.

Not Romanesque, this round dance, nor Burlesque,
this Rite of Spring puts metronomes to riotous task.

Leap, Spectral Rose, and leave the damask rose
a frail leaf-scaffold yellowed, all wormholes,
beside your arabesques a pale grotesque…

All revelers, glide like silk, take nips from flasks:
don dominos, visors: dance the Odamasque… !  

                        —for Joyce Odam, poet nonpareil
            (Writ, I hope, in evocation of her style when 

             the dance is upon her.)