Poem: The Dissolution of the Dance

Music warmed my heart from birth

Born half-sized, and boxed.

I heard it play, maybe a nurse

And to its beat I rocked.

It held me earthed until the time

Someone came to claim me.

Soothed to sleep by song and rhyme

I rocked out where they laid me.

Quickened by the radio

I learnt to dance alone.

Moving in staccato

I felt myself at home.

Music was a blanket

Dancing was a hug.

When I could make a racket

It made my heart thud.

I danced with belly dancers

Then I learnt to teach.

I leapt all night with ravers

The goals I set were reached.

Dancing was my joy

The beating of my heart.

My soul’s ecstatic toy

My vocation and my art.

But now I halt – with trepidation

Aches, and grabs, and bites.

Patella, in disintegration

A new knee-cap in sight.

The dancer flops upon the edge

Of cavernous despair.

In the next life, is her pledge

While writer holds her by her hair.

Change is how things come to be

It breaks us into parts.

And in my soul I’ve always known

The word would be my art.

My restless, pacing, shaking ways

Must now recede to calm

My music at a gentler pace

I’ll dance more with my arms.

The muses turn their faces west

In loss I find a chance

Shaping into words my best—

From the dissolution of the dance.

Leanne Margaret © 2023

A scenic photo of western sky at sunset. Black hills dotted with lights. Sunset orange sky that looks like fire.

This poem speaks for itself. As I processed my osteoarthritis diagnosis, the words grew rhythmic; dancing into a poem. Since writing it, I've grown strong enough to belly dance a little. But I'm coming to terms with the fact that I'll never be the same again. That's the thing about life experience; each one changes our present, our future, and our perception of the past.

Eighteen months ago I saw myself as athletic, strong, able to move heavy furniture and climb multiple storeys. Now, on some days, I feel frail; older than I should. I find myself ruminating on the things I'm going to struggle with in future. 

But knee-rehab is going well, and it's likely I'll be able to sustain a certain level of fitness for a few years yet. I've had to become mindful of the alignment of every movement; savouring each one. I relish every day that I can go for a walk. Yoga is my friend, we meet six times a week on my lounge room floor; by a window with breathtaking views (see pic). I'm beginning to incorporate some dance into my schedule, and – although I paid for it – I spent two hours on the dance floor last Friday night. 

Next year, my osteopath assures me, I won't need another fourteen sessions with her. I feel hopeful enough to believe her.

I understand that on some level, my soul is corralling me via limitation, onto my writing path. This gives my dissolution meaning, and meaning enables acceptance.

Still dancing.  


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