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Posted by: Talia (216.117.98.---)
Date: October 31, 2003 05:08PM

I had the opportunity to see a Suzanne Farrell Ballet this week and have slowly been falling in love with it since recently reading Zelda Fitzgerald's "Save Me the Waltz". Anyhow I was struck in awe at a little snippet of George Blanchine's "Serenade". I have been thinking about it and wanting to incorproate this into poetry. I need some inspiration. I found 2 so-so ballet poems. Can you help me find some more? I want something with some more meaning....more than a beautiful description.

The Ballet Of The Fifth Year
Delmore Schwartz

Where the sea gulls sleep or indeed where they fly
Is a place of different traffic. Although I
Consider the fishing bay (where I see them dip and curve
And purely glide) a place that weakens the nerve
Of will, and closes my eyes, as they should not be
(They should burn like the street-light all night quietly,
So that whatever is present will be known to me),
Nevertheless the gulls and the imagination
Of where they sleep, which comes to creation
In strict shape and color, from their dallying
Their wings slowly, and suddenly rallying
Over, up, down the arabesque of descent,
Is an old act enacted, my fabulous intent
When I skated, afraid of policemen, five years old,
In the winter sunset, sorrowful and cold,
Hardly attained to thought, but old enough to know
Such grace, so self-contained, was the best escape to know.

. . . a fetish is a story
masquerading as an object
– Robert J. Stoller

In ballet the foot disappears
and even the swan walks on air.
In this marvelous disguise of the body,
deception and beauty weigh
equally. Form is no dance,
though looking is, the leap
from here to
light's pink shrined upon the stage
while the music shivers. It's some winter, this
story of the foot
that later, through the stage door, walks away
in its black stiletto
the clarinetist behind watches disappear like a smaller
and smaller and smaller black champagne glass,
the mournful little toasts of desire over
and then that spectacle of bondage
as her strapped ankle withdraws into a taxi.
If this were the fairy tale,
the shoe would be in his hand, her shape—
and the shoe would be glass so that
her shape would seem to walk on air.
He'd name her Farewell.
But he'd keep her in a closet, he'd keep
for himself that image of the five red
half-moons of the toes, cozy and lingual.
He'd let that heel grind into
his breastbone, and why not, just think
of what we'll stand for in the name of love,
just think what we'll become a street for,
or a giving earth, a meadow for, a mud,
a heart-rooted grass. Think what we'll
disappear for in all our flesh, just to know
the gravity of our desire which is
always walking out, out, into distance
and then, when there's nothing
more, drawing itself up and lasting
a brief second like a circus goat
climbing a ladder, pitiable
miracle, our love, our art.

Beckian Fritz Goldberg
Gulf Coast
Volume 15, Number 1
Winter/Spring 2003

Re: Ballet
Posted by: Talia (216.117.98.---)
Date: November 04, 2003 10:56AM

Are you all stumped or just disinterested? Surely one of you likes ballet.

Re: Ballet
Posted by: Hugh Clary (
Date: November 04, 2003 11:18AM

Ballet? < gag > I do remember seeing an old (1930's?) movie where three ladies were tap dancing up and down a set of stairs in what appeared to be ballet shoes. Must have been murder on the feet.

Re: Ballet
Posted by: JP (
Date: November 04, 2003 01:33PM

Here's one, not specifically about ballet though.

Gratiana Dancing
by: Richard Lovelace (1618 - 1657)

She beat the happy pavement
By such a star made firmament,
Which now no more the roof envěes!
But swells up high, with Atlas even,
Bearing the brighter nobler heaven,
And, in her, all the deities.
Each step trod out a Lover's thought
And the ambitious hopes he brought,
Chain'd to her brave feet with such arts;
Such sweet command, and gentle awe,
As when she ceased, we sighing saw
The floore lay paved with broken hearts

Re: Ballet
Posted by: StephenFryer (
Date: November 04, 2003 03:45PM

"Arabesque" by Gustav BenJava


motion distilled
in pure
symmetry of lines

a breath between
two dreams

a precise pause
step to step



Your Albrecht of many masks
will come, fair dove,
will come to dance
the placid corners of your soul
Your life like a vapor
will touch him
he will shudder in your tender
cold embrace
he will tremble beneath
the silken shallow of lace
he will find himself drunk there,
cold as stone
and death
his mirror will be your eyes
your rhythmic pulse
a languishing flower will caress
his strong shoulder and arm
your sweet drowned song
will enchant him
a bird in flight,
dove, swan,
lovely Giselle!
Amour of distant shadows!


"to Odette"

Fair white swan of mystic night
singing me wave upon wave
of moonlight

you spin and white lace encircles you
spirals of echoing light

a rapid bouree to a moonbeam
and the cold calculating scent of morning
hangs like icicles from your breath

caress me gently, my dove,
kiss me!
- the cold still kiss of night
of death
(a wane hand upon my shoulder now)

a circle of lines
a symmetry of passion
ending in arabesque
your converging planes
form a portal to my soul

love, fair, sweet swan of love!

Gustav BenJava


Re: Ballet
Posted by: Marian-NYC (
Date: November 04, 2003 05:54PM

I came up with nothing under "ballet" and the only thing I know of with "Ballerina" is about choosing between love and career, not about the dancing per se. I checked Bartleby for "dance" and got lots of irrelevant stuff.

Stephen -- great idea to look for "Giselle" and such.

Re: Ballet
Posted by: StephenFryer (
Date: November 04, 2003 06:18PM

Yeah, OK, thanx, but - nobody loves a smartarse: ask JP.


Re: Ballet
Posted by: Pam Adams (134.71.192.---)
Date: November 05, 2003 07:04PM

There's a good article in the LA Times, about Suzanne Farrell.


Re: Ballet
Posted by: Talia (216.117.99.---)
Date: November 06, 2003 11:18AM

Yes, I was really excited about the show, then for some reason I was hoping that she would come out and make an such luck.

Re: Ballet
Posted by: Talia (216.117.99.---)
Date: November 13, 2003 12:06PM

Thanks for you help, guys. I wrote somethink called "Serenade" and am going to post it on the other board if you are interested.

Re: Ballet
Posted by: Gemma (
Date: November 16, 2003 04:56PM

I love ballet! I used to go to classes, my ambition was always to progress to pointe shoes but I never got that far.(sigh) Those poems about ballet are really interesting I haven't got any myself but I'm going to look for some now. It's an interesting thought how words would be able to capture the movements of dance etc, I might have a go myself at trying to write a poem about ballet. I also like other forms of dance such as Irish dance, jazz, and contemporary.

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