Dance with Meaning
Come the end of autumn term
we watch our daughter’s troupe perform.
As one of those who understands
not much about expressive dance
I hear with thanks and some relief
Miss Shervington’s prefacing speech
explaining that the coming piece
exemplifies the Middle East.
The leotards and limbs find space
where fear and terror mask each face,
then edging ever centre stage
they finally converge and make
a single shape which I compare
to hands combined in act of prayer;
a transitory smile, closed lids,
then they scatter, blown to bits.
Without the prologue’s clarity
I might have thought this parodied
an end of season dancing show
and dads that didn’t want to go,
who supplicated then half slept-
heard a clap and quickly left.

Raymond Miller