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Friday, July 07, 2017

Poetry Friday--"Spanish Dancer"

I happened to see a Spanish dance video on Facebook that was fabulous, and quite coincidentally I came across this poem by Rainer Maria Rilke:
The Spanish Dancer

As a lit match first flickers in the hands
Before it flames, and darts out from all sides
Bright, twitching tongues, so, ringed by growing bands
Of spectators—she, quivering, glowing stands
Poised tensely for the dance—then forward glides

And suddenly becomes a flaming torch.
Her bright hair flames, her burning glances scorch,
And with a daring art at her command
Her whole robe blazes like a fire-brand
From which is stretched each naked arm, awake,
Gleaming and rattling like a frightened snake.

And then, as though the fire fainter grows,
She gathers up the flame—again it glows,
As with proud gesture and imperious air
She flings it to the earth; and it lies there
Furiously flickering and crackling still—
Then haughtily victorious, but with sweet
Swift smile of greeting, she puts forth her will
And stamps the flames out with her small firm feet.

Of course, now that I'm looking for it, I can't find the Facebook video I had originally seen. Here's another that should demonstrate the "daring art" and put a little flame in your soul. Enjoy!

Carol at Beyond Literacy Link will be hosting the Poetry Friday Round-Up for this week.


  1. Diane, isn't it amazing how one thing leads to another? I am enthralled by the art of dancing. I love Dancing With the Stars and the paso doble dance with its fiery stances, sharp, bold moves. This quick dance reminds me of parts of that. Thanks for pairing the video with the Rilke poem.

    1. Dancing is the poor stepchild in the arts. How many public schools teach dance?

  2. Fabulous. I love a fiery dance.

    1. And the music and the costumes!

  3. Wow! I have never seen this poem before. It's beautiful....and full of energy. I love the line about arms being frightened snakes. This one's a keeper. Thanks for sharing it.

  4. I love all the movement in this poem! Thank you, Diane. xo

    1. Flickers, twitching, quivering, glides--and that's just in the first stanza!

  5. Poetry and dance share that same spirit of creation and expression, two different means of sharing one's soul with the world!