Once Upon a Ballroom

Once upon a ballroom
they noticed one another
in furtive glance of boy and girl

“May I have this dance?” he asked
permission to step into her
space and take her hand

She followed him out
circled her hips
swiveled and he smiled.

1-2-3-and-4, 5-6-7-and-8
He knew there’d be more ands
to the eight count and the turns

East had met West, Mars wooed Venus
but she was a cautious goddess
He eased into rhythm while
she tried to study her feet

They triple-stepped to Bobby Darin’s
Sunday in New York where she was from

Who knew eight months would bring
them back to that room in tux and satin ivory
to laugh and Sugar Push and spin?
For better or for worse.

Though she never did get the Shag and Balboa
now he, he says she made him ambitious

Over the years He learned
to stand tall, say No
She’s come around, to say Yes

And still he does not ask for much.
If he listens he’ll make out her
Thank You in the prosaic
music of the day-to-day

They’ve tripped,
loved     off  key
shouted for a different song

They’ve forgotten steps but the moment
she asks he will jump
to dance again.


78 thoughts on “Once Upon a Ballroom

    • Feedback is so helpful, isn’t it? Because this isn’t one of my best, and I would not have thought it excellent. But I did think it had its place in the repertoire and it was a gift for my husband. Thank you for that bit of encouragement.

  1. Trochaic tetrameter, if I’m not mistaken, certainly to begin with. A conscious decision, or not? Sorry, to get all technical straight up. The poem was enchanting and romantic, without being cloying. A skilful achievement and beguiling, also.

    • Confession: happy accident. Now, given my convictions about intent, does this reduce my art? LOL! For the first time, the question occurs to me: taking the opposite of “conscious”, could the subconsciousness of the production enhance it (the art)? But perhaps it wasn’t even subconscious, the meter that expressed the pulse of dance.

      Seriously, you are too generous. The piece wasn’t one of my best, and that was (surprisingly) all right with me. Was simply what I wanted to say to Husband. Thank you.

      • But you felt the rhythm as you chose the word order, surely? That much was conscious, true. Or did you just go with the flow of the words, while writing it? It intrigues me, in regard to my own process when writing, is all…

      • “But you felt the rhythm as you chose the word order, surely?”

        YES. You remind me that any accidents out of my brain are not full serendipity. It was originally “Once Upon a Simple Time” for a poem of intentionally simple language. I took cue from my posts Save Spit and Keep It Real (which I closed with keeping North in view) and settled on the Ballroom. And yes, also w/ sound and rhythm in mind. I don’t know that I ever “just” go with the flow, though indeed I am carried along a current at times.

        Good ques. Thanks.

      • I have seen a few poems being critiqued and they point out at which point the poem strayed slightly from the meter only for the poet to reply that they never wrote the poem with a certain meter in mind. There may be the odd poem out there that due to a statistical probability has been written without any concept of meter consciously or subconsciously and yet has maintained perfect meter from start to finish, it would be akin to winning the lottery twice or 1000 monkeys typing out the works of Sir Francis Bacon.
        Your ‘happy accident’ as you called it was not really an accident at all therefore any worries about not adhering to the principles of ‘intent’ can be dismissed. The ‘intent’ may not have been there in the sense of examining each step meticulously in the hope of perfection, but instead the mind took the route that was the most efficient within the laws of what was harmonically viable and produced ‘art’ the same way that nature produces a pine cone or a flower. Nature doesn’t have ‘intent’ in the sense that it knows the principles of the fibonacci sequence and tries to adhere to them when creating a flower, it just does what is natural. And ‘art’ as I have said before is at it’s best when it resembles nature closest.
        So, Trochaic tetrameter it mostly was and I know that if someone pointed out to me that I had done this I would be happy to know that subconsciously, which ultimately is consciously, I was coming close to resembling nature.
        This time the words aren’t as important and as you have pointed out already it is not your best as regards that, but the reason you posted it was so someone could come and notice the comment about Trochaic tetrameter left by someone else and use it to tell you something that you already knew but needed reaffirming, but that wasn’t your ‘intent’ I’m sure.
        One final thing, is ‘centre alignment’ cliche?

        As always, be happy,
        Mark

      • You leave me with the biggest grin. (Why do I keep wanting to call you KID? To emphasize the irony of your physical age against your literary keenness.)

        “but instead the mind took the route that was the most efficient within the laws of what was harmonically viable and produced ‘art’ the same way that nature produces a pine cone or a flower.”
        You don’t cease to amaze me, Mark, nor do you leave me with much to add. I might’ve passed over your generous feedback but that you make a compelling case for nature. Can’t argue with nature, now, can I?

        Me? Give you guys a poem where the words don’t really matter? =) He he yeah, the picture of the DaNcE between me and my guy was the point of this one.

        As to your ques, it isn’t cliché so much as it borders on redundancy. But it gets away with itself for the left and right alignment options we have.

        You realize you left me a post? I’d put it up if I were you, though you might fiddle w/ the presentation to fit your blog.

  2. D-

    I heard the cadence of the music in the writing, the sashay, then I was enjoyably interrupted by a vision of a new color…..

    A very nice piece of artwork there.
    Fare ye well, (as u are wont to do)

  3. Oh Diana,
    I’m all misty! You are so kind to share a personal part of your life that’s so poignant and beautiful for the rest of us. I’m also commenting on your “Biggest Fan” post…may you have many, many more dances and homeruns. xo

My Two Gold Cents in the Holistic Treasury

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