Reception

Take your partners for an introduction…
Step forward – offer a hand,
If a dancer proffers a cheek
Then kiss it. Take their rhythm
Once or twice, left or right
Who leads, who follows
In this social dance?

Smiling, exchanging cards,
One moment joining a group,
Then turning away, forming
The figures of an unknown dance.

Some dance tango, some the waltz
Some demand, some offer, some hide
Behind a veil of bland neutrality
Through the dance we learn each other’s ways
Though always wondering how each stranger
Dances when they’re alone.

Through the crowd the patient waiters glide 
In magical white jackets they are
Invisible behind their laden trays.
I wonder what they think of the dance
Which they punctuate, but do not participate?

Formality and friendliness
Faces and hands. Each dancer
Treads a different path through our dance
Each interaction shaping its own pattern
Tracking paths on the sumptuous carpet

(Sometimes, overwhelmed, I escape the crowd to rest my feet from the endless dance. In the privacy of the bathrooms I check to make sure that I have not lost my soul in the whirling dance of faces.)

And then returning, swept back into the dance
A new partner, and another, and onwards I dance
But the quirks of my steps show
I hear my own music, always, in my mind
As I dance with different partners, my steps change
But it is always me who is dancing.

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One response to “Reception

  1. Holy lira de gambo, how many times have I had those feelings. Receptions bore the living daylights out of me. My wife wanted me to go to one tonight. I couldn’t drag myself away from my indulgence in poetry. I generally try to find a corner with a chair behind the palm so I can watch and a waiter with the wine bottle that knows I am there. Thanks for putting into a lyrical poem what I have not expressed. Most importantly, thank you for sharing.

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