The Dance Lesson: Beth Kephart Poem

Monday, May 11, 2009

You will never be;
you won’t.
Your spine, your face, your hips
are implicated, wrong.
Your balance, meanwhile, is an obstruction to mine
and cricked to a shim.
You have snaggled you have shammed you have embargoed beauty.
You have yelped the discontinuous, and why
would you ever
(answer this)
heel the music
into breaking its own heart?

It was your suspicion of tension
that failed you.
It was your wanting
too much
that forced
the first elision.
The second
erupted from despair.


Marty said...

This is a beautifully written poem that is heartbreaking as well... a remarkable achievement. However, I am embarrassed to admit that I do not understand the last two lines.

“It was your wanting
too much
that forced
the first elision.
The second
erupted from despair.”

Beth Kephart said...

Oh, Marty. I love this question. I have often asked it of other poems.

In this poem, the speaker is a dance teacher. He is chastising the student for all she does wrong. He is saying, in the end, that she wanted too much, she was too impatient, and that precipitated his first elision—her omissions, her failures, her break. Her second failures (as a dancer, but of course this poem suggests so much more than dance) erupted from her despair that she would never be; she won't.

Marty said...

Beth, Thank you for your wonderful explanation.

I am heartbroken even more...

A Cuban In London said...

'it was your suspicion of tension'. How beautiful and how true. Many thanks.

Greetings from London.

Emily Ruth said...

I love all the verbs!

And yes, heartbreaking.

septembermom said...

I have a soft spot for dancers in my heart. I think it is such a heavenly, beautiful art form. Thank you for this lovely, moving poem. It speaks much about the tension between desire to achieve and immediate (yet hopefully temporary)physical or time limitations. Your poetry speaks so well to me.

Lilian Nattel said...

It makes me pause to reflect.

Anna Lefler said...

Okay, I'm thinking this was the judge who sits in the middle on "Dancing with the Stars," right? The senior fellow who bashes on everyone?


Of course, I kid.

This is delicious in every way and, as Marty said, heartbreaking to boot.

Here's to the pure joy of shaking one's groove thing without rebuke.



Woman in a Window said...

Hey, I should have come back here for the explanation first. I went looking up elision and what a cool word to use. I even figured it out. And before I even made it back here I wanted to give a good fast decisive foot to that instructor's arse. Elision! He needs to see her beauty!

I love your new photo. Gorgeous. There lies your beauty. Look at that arm!

Em said...

I believe I recognize that flower. ;-)

Beautiful poem, Beth. I can almost see the story surrounding it.

  © Blogger templates Newspaper II by 2008

Back to TOP