2017 April PAD Challenge: Day 17

Today is a special day for so many reasons, but one in the poetic realm is that today is International Haiku Poetry Day. It always falls on April 17, because of National Poetry Month and the 17 syllables in many (though not all) haiku. This year is extra special because the year is ’17 as well.

For today’s prompt, write a dance poem. The poem can be about the process of dancing or just somehow incorporate or reference dancing in the poem. There are so many styles of dance out there and even more occasions for dancing: school dances, daddy-daughter dances, wedding dances, people who dance when they are happy, people who dance when they are sad, people who dance in large groups, and those who dance alone. And, of course, there are so who just won’t dance for anything.

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Here’s my attempt at a Dance Poem:

“on dancing”

dancing is dancing
whether beneath the moon

in a summer swoon
in june & perchance

as part of a romance
that began with a glance

& ends with a dance
a soft cheek on shoulder

slowly getting older
& bolder dance

into the dark public park
where others avoid

you make your mark
as if on a lark

& back to the streets
on twitterpated feet

under electric lights
& feeling all right

& this is your night
for taking sweet chances

on an innocent romance
that ends with a dance

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Robert Lee Brewer is Senior Content Editor of the Writer’s Digest Writing Community and author of Solving the World’s Problems (Press 53). He is very good at dancing when no one is watching, just as he’s a very talented singer when no one is listening.

Follow him on Twitter @RobertLeeBrewer.

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453 thoughts on “2017 April PAD Challenge: Day 17

  1. Bruce Niedt

    I was surprised that Robert didn’t make today’s prompt a haiku after that big intro. Glad to see some of you took up the form in the spirit of the day, which is what I did too. (One is a “monoku”, a one-line haiku, and it may be the first one I’ve done.) Two of the three fit Robert’s theme, and also that of NaPoWriMo, which is to write a “nocturne” (poem about the night). They were inspired by a recent vacation in St. Thomas.

    I.
    here on this island
    the fastest things I can find
    are the hummingbirds

    II.
    heat lightning
    dances through distant clouds –
    no sleep tonight

    III.
    carnival dancers limbo under the stars

  2. MET

    The Weekly Dance

    On Saturday night,
    The chairs pushed back,
    Da would say, “Sis, come dance with me?
    He would grab he up and toss me high,
    And on his feet then place me.
    He learned the polka
    In some north woods pub,
    When work took him far away.
    We would hop and skip around the room,
    Twirling and turning and I giggling
    At the fast ride I was on.
    He would laugh with me
    As through the living room we dance
    And unto the hall
    Until we circled around the house.
    On the tv a polka played out
    The hop skip of the dance we were doing.
    As the music ended,
    He would grab me up
    One more toss
    For our weekly dance had ended.

    Mary Elizabeth Todd
    April 17, 2017

  3. cobanionsmith

    Dance, 17 Haiku

    1.
    Anyone can dance
    but not everyone can do
    it well or alone.

    2.
    Wallflower was my
    primary occupation,
    junior high dances.

    3.
    His dance entranced me.
    My two left feet didn’t faze
    him. Wedding bells rang.

    4.
    “Check out my moves, Mom!”
    Smith Family Dance Parties
    rule: unrestrained joy!

    5.
    Wife, mom, cook, teacher
    writer, reader of looks who
    dances like Elaine.

    6.
    Father, husband, friend,
    lover, partner–switching roles,
    a dance of betweens.

    7.
    Images and words
    dance. The screen or page, readers
    needed (and a stage).

    8.
    Truth dances within
    Your Words. Distractions pull
    me from Your presence.

    9.
    Communication
    is a dance we still haven’t
    mastered. Will we ever?

    10.
    Brightly feathered males
    must impress with song and dance.
    Why not humans, too?

    11.
    Birthday surprise! Your
    denim blue eyes might just dance
    right out of your head.

    12.
    In Tír na nÓg, fay
    dance forever. I wonder:
    are my boys from there?

    13.
    Weird arithmetic:
    skipping forward, backward dance
    when my youngest counts.

    14.
    How many angels
    can dance on the head of a
    pin? Only need one.

    15.
    Three in one being:
    body, soul, spirit of me
    dancing for control.

    16.
    Paradox of Faith:
    Father, Son, Holy Spirit
    dance at once as one.

    17.
    Poetry eludes
    me. Determined, I wrestle;
    it just wants to dance.

    Courtney O’Banion Smith
    @cobanionsmith

  4. Monique

    A Tango Haiku Fairy Tale

    You never plan on
    falling in love through a dance
    And still it happens

    It was enchanting
    Like a fairy tale made real
    how it all started

    How it ended though?
    The glass slipper didn’t fit
    Like my heart, it broke

    Tango’s not romance,
    but a game of seduction
    we got caught up in

    You couldn’t decide
    You really sucked at leading
    I was so stupid

    I was wonderstruck
    Now I wish I could rewrite
    the way it ended

    The story of us
    A fairy tale turned tragic
    I blame the tango

  5. deringer1

    leaves that shimmy-shake
    in the wind dance to
    the gentle rhythm of life

    while in the ball of life
    the wind of change blows
    and we face certain death

  6. Joseph Hesch

    River Dancers

    It’s almost morning and the music
    comes across muted in the mirror ball
    near-light reflecting on the dance floor.
    All night the couples have swayed
    and bumped with one another,
    even grinding their slippery bodies
    in the moaning dark to the tune
    that’s played in this joint since
    the big bottoms shook hands
    and opened it.

    The aroma of old smoke
    and older subterranean sweat
    drifts heavy to you on the shore
    and then come the voices signaling
    Last Call, turning on those too bright lights,
    pushing and hustling the dancers
    on their ways to their daily jobs
    filling these arteries with the ichor
    from the black heart of the Alleghenies.

    They’ll be back tonight, because
    the rhythm of these rivers is all
    they know, the blood-pumping
    life of these sooty coal buckets,
    these rusty barges with names like
    painted ladies and otherwise
    forgotten river men. Tonight they’ll
    close their eyes and lean into
    one another in the dark again.
    And oh how they’ll dance!

  7. michaelharty

    Dirty Bop

    A rumor about this kid Roy
    two years older, greasy ducktails
    and jeans that didn’t cover
    his grimy underwear, a rumor
    he’d been to the Cotton Club
    out east of town and knew
    how to do the Dirty Bop. Girls giggled
    when he passed but he never
    told what he’d seen.

    Police raid flash-bulb-frozen
    all over the front page, dancers
    in contortions no studio taught them,
    sling of pelvis, arch of spine, blacked-out
    faces but they couldn’t hide the wide-open
    ecstatic grins. They said they shut down
    the club for illegal liquor but it was
    black dancing by white kids, too many
    saxophones, too few petticoats.

    Trading around those donut forty-fives,
    conspiring to practice in bedrooms
    and garages — the preachers saw best
    what was coming, put out a warning
    we all heard on the radio,
    rock and roll takes a toll on your soul
    was the message and within a week
    a DJ put it to music
    and we danced to it.

  8. Jerry Walraven

    “I do have two left catkins”

    I refuse to blame the trees
         for the pollen which
            clouds my mind
    ( though it can be
            scientifically proven )
    instead,
    I stand in their midst,
         unguarded
    and invent a small symphony
    (which I call Dance of the Catkins)
    that I play
    only for me.

  9. DaveIst

    I wanted to make this look like a dance
    but the display doesn’t like tabs
    So I’ll try spaces:

    THE DANCE OF LIFE

    Out ‘n back
    Left ‘n back
    Right ‘n back
    Step
    Life ‘n death
    Light ‘n dark
    Love ‘n fear
    Step
    Give ‘n take
    Trust ‘n doubt
    Hope ‘n fate
    Step
    Joy ‘n tears
    Rich ‘n poor
    Peace n’ war
    Step
    Dance at school
    Dance at work
    Dance at home
    Step
    Waltz since birth
    Waltz for life
    Waltz till death
    Drop

  10. Nurit Israeli

    loyal to Wordsworth –
    daffodils dance in the breeze:
    winter is over

    *

    her iPod playing
    Dance Me to the End of Love –
    she cries as he leaves

    *

    elderly couple
    dancing to tunes of “Last Waltz” –
    careful not to fall

    *

    the music is on:
    wallflowers humming along ¬
    waiting for a dance

    ~ Nurit Israeli

  11. DaveIst

    THE DANCE OF LIFE

    Out ‘n back
    Left ‘n back
    Right ‘n back
    Step
    Life ‘n death
    Light ‘n dark
    Love ‘n fear
    Step
    Give ‘n take
    Trust ‘n doubt
    Hope ‘n fate
    Step
    Joy ‘n tears
    Rich ‘n poor
    Peace n’ war
    Step
    Dance at school
    Dance at work
    Dance at home
    Step
    Waltz since birth
    Waltz for life
    Waltz till death
    Drop

  12. headintheclouds87

    The Most Deceptive Dance of All

    I dance through the days
    Despite not knowing all the steps
    Or even the name of the next song,
    Just making up a rhythm as I go along,
    Murmuring my own little melody
    As I muddle through each move
    That others master so easily
    But the pesky little intricacies of which
    Always seem to elude me.
    Yet somehow I still can manage
    To not let this deceptive mask slip;
    I still project the great illusion
    Of the seasoned, experienced dancer
    Who never trips over their own feet
    Or misses that crucial cue,
    My audience completely unaware
    Of the mental audition inside,
    Where anxiety reigns as judge
    And doubt decides the score
    In this lifetime performance of mine.

  13. Beverly Deirocini

    Contented Cacophony

    He stepped left
    And she swayed right
    Completely out of tune
    And a little uptight
    Was he when dancing
    All through the night.

    He preferred the waltz
    And she liked swing
    But that wasn’t discovered
    Until after the ring
    But for years they danced
    Without a fling.

    Many others would
    Have said goodbye
    Especially when you
    Don’t dance eye to eye
    But she was his girl
    And he was her guy.

    So they each danced
    To their own little beat
    Bumping into
    And stepping on feet
    But no other love
    Was as syrupy sweet.

  14. serenevannoy

    their feet make soulful music
    themselves, a swishing
    and slapping on the wood floor

    the watchers don’t hear
    the music inside of them:
    the dancers, their feet

    it’s automatic
    the returning to rhythm
    the tap-dance of life

    live music, dancers,
    syncopated Chainé turns
    it all leads to this

  15. MET

    The girl who danced the Charleston

    She learned to dance the Charleston
    As a girl. Her uncles gave her a quarter
    To see her to dance.
    She laughed as she told the tale
    For she knew she was the best.
    She had so wanted to be a flapper,
    But the Depression came instead.
    The reason her daughter never
    Had to fight to wear a mini skirt.
    Instead she said,
    “How short do you want it?”
    She danced the Charleston
    Until the year, she fell
    And cracked her hip-
    Even so she could still shake a leg.
    I still can see her smiling
    And her eyes dancing bright,
    When she joined in my dancing
    Showing me how to cut the rug,
    A life well spent dancing.

    Mary Elizabeth Todd
    April 17, 2017

  16. Margot Suydam

    Dancing in Nocturne

    Dancing is what I always wanted
    so much, not the spotlight so much
    as the ability to fly fast across a room.

    Lifted high as if from my armpits
    I yearn to straddle the air the way
    white noise fills up the empty spaces.

    Sad piano permeates the wooden plain
    as a I take flight in soft rhythm. Foreign
    pulses still forage, surround the night.

    Still, pebbles are garbling my feet
    with off-pitch songs trailing my heels
    with petals ripped from my toes.

  17. thunk2much

    Seventeen (for Sarah, my daughter)
    .

    When I see you again

    if I see you again

    I will notice

    but I won’t mention

    how the light dances

    gleefully over your head

    to illuminate your face

    just like it danced

    the last time

    I saw you and

    just like in the

    beginning

    in that dim-lit room

    where you drew

    your first breath

    and screamed

    and screamed

    seventeen years ago

    today.

  18. Tracy Davidson

    Wallflower

    That wallflower you asked to dance,
    while waltzing, fell in love with you.
    No other gave me a second glance,
    that wallflower you asked to dance.
    I wasn’t looking for romance,
    but here I am, saying “I do”.
    That wallflower you asked to dance,
    while waltzing, fell in love with you.

  19. MET

    The Dance of the Flowers

    Dogwood clouds waltz;
    Flower crosses rejoices;
    God’s prophecy has been kept.

    Mary Elizabeth Todd
    April 17, 2017

    Legend has it that the dogwood tree once grew very tall and strong. It was the tree that the Romans chose to make the cross that Jesus was hung that fateful day. The dogwood tree was so grieved for having to carry Jesus that God made a promise to the tree that they would no longer do such deeds and thus would no longer grow tall. God also blessed them to bloom in Spring and their flower would carry the blood stains on the end of each petal and a crown in the center… look closely at the blooms on a dogwood tree and you will see they are marked this way.

    1. MET

      I dedicate this to Da born this month and who knew wildflowers so well, and Ma who died this month and got to see her beautiful dogwoods one last time nine years ago… In our family the dogwood is a symbol for Ma… one of my nieces even got a tattoo of one to honor her.

    1. Marie Elena

      A wish-I’d-written.

      qbit, I began the hashtag #seventeensyllablesfortwentyseventeen out on Facebook on January 1 as a way to write a little something each and every day, and keep a journal of sorts of this year. Some others have joined in, and it is great fun. If you are on Facebook and would like to look me up, I am Marie Elena Good (Marie Fagnano). Loving your poetic voice out here, qbit.

  20. Christina Cattane

    A little girl in curls and lace
    I danced alone
    with a smiling face
    dreaming of my handsome prince
    in days to come

    A woman grown I dance with him
    on our wedding day
    when our life begins
    dreaming of dreams come true
    In days to come

    A widow old with cane and grays
    I dance alone
    dreaming of those days
    When I danced, and smiled and dreamed before
    In days gone by

  21. tripoet

    We Shall Be Dancing…

    I almost missed the notice
    might not have rsvp’d
    “ Free dance lesson in Prague ” being offered
    right before my godchild’s wedding ceremony.

  22. Marie Elena

    Boston Marathon

    Your hateful violence
    bombed. We lock step. Move forward.
    No hesitation.

    #seventeensyllablesfortwentyseventeen
    #aprilpad

    The Boston Marathon is today, marking our 4th since the bombing in 2013. The “lock step” is a dance step. I used “hesitation” in reference to the Hesitation Waltz, which is thought to have originated in Boston. It imposed a pause (or hesitation) of two beats in the Waltz figure.

  23. timphilippart

    For Life’s Dance

    Grandpa taught me to slow dance
    for that first dance in fifth grade.
    Place your right hand,
    just firmly enough,
    on her back,
    so she can feel it,
    Then she will decide 
    if she wants to move with you.
    That’s all I remember–
    all that ever mattered.

  24. Piddleville

    This one needs a lot of work, I had an idea and it came out like this…

    Banana Bread Waltz

    I had a big bunch of bananas.
    I feared they were all going bad.
    So I mashed them to mush to bake in a bread.

    I wanted to bake it with you.
    You only wanted to dance.
    I said, “Let us bake and make it a ball.”

    “A banana bread waltz!” you cried,
    pleased with my plantain idea.
    “We can bake as we dance and dance as we bake.”

    “Of course,” I cried back, agreeing.
    The band took my cue and they played
    a waltz we could dance; a waltz we could bake.

    So we baked a banana bread waltz;
    we danced as we baked a sweet bread;
    we danced that banana bread waltz to the night.

    Banana bread waltz was our dinner.
    It was our breakfast come morning.
    I swear we were waltzing all night and all day.

    Banana bread waltz can be tiring,
    it’s also a most filling food.
    Banana bread waltz is a baking delight
    when someone is dancing your baking with you.

    wlw

  25. JanetRuth

    Dancing With A Star

    You always lead;
    How lithe your feet
    I do the best I can
    To twirl and dip
    But often trip
    Then you say ‘try again’

    Your eyes hold fire
    Your touch, desire
    Who can resist your glance?
    Where outstretched arms
    And hunger charms
    My heart to take a chance

    Around the floor
    We glide, once more
    How sure and strong you are
    We waltz and whirl
    Me, just a girl
    And you, a super-star

    Your steady gaze
    Unravels days
    As seasons lilt and chime
    My want and need
    Follow your lead
    Dancing with Father Time

  26. Ivy_Lane

    “This is the Song that Never Ends”

    Same old song
    and dance

    A tune of moody melodies
    under glittered lights
    and drunken gaze.

    A price tag moving on a stage.

    Can’t skip a beat
    this rhythm raining
    bass and blues

    and backwash
    of sprinkled sound.
    It spits against my smothered skin.

    Drowns me down. Chomped
    and chewed by hungry mouths
    and eyes, and their lies.

    Enough with the notes
    and the noise
    and the boys
    and the rest of the week.

    All the days string the same old dance.

    They’ll play my song
    again.

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