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  #21  
Old 11-08-2018, 01:23 PM
Susan McLean Susan McLean is offline
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Martin, I don't see the skeletons as any kind of mockery, just as a reality that, because it is unwelcome, always comes as a shock. I am not denying that in medieval depictions of the Dance of Death there was an element of mockery of the assumptions of the wealthy and powerful. But this is a Dance of Death for today.

Susan
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  #22  
Old 11-08-2018, 05:20 PM
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R. S. Gwynn R. S. Gwynn is offline
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Consider "tableaux" instead of "friezes"? A tableau vivant could be part of a modern dance performance. You lose the pun, of course.
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  #23  
Old 11-08-2018, 08:38 PM
Cara Valle Cara Valle is offline
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I like the sculptural connotation of "friezes", especially with reference to dancers, who are some of the only actual humans with muscle definition like Greek statues.

I guess a tableaux could be sculptural, too. It just doesn't come to mind for me as easily as with "friezes".
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  #24  
Old 11-09-2018, 11:18 AM
Susan McLean Susan McLean is offline
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Sam, though I originally thought of "tableaux" for the line, the word is metrically ambiguous, so I chose "friezes" over it. But once I thought of "friezes" I liked it better, both because of the pun/contrast in the word and because it is always better to choose the less expected image over the more common or expected one.

Cara, that is a good point about the muscle definition of the dancers. It was very striking, both in the men and in the women, which is one reason that I thought of taut bows as an appropriate image for them. On a proscenium stage, a dance always comes across as being halfway between the two-dimensional and the three-dimensional, especially if you are sitting near the front, as I was, so sculptural reliefs did come to mind.

Susan
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  #25  
Old 11-12-2018, 07:13 PM
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R. S. Gwynn R. S. Gwynn is offline
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I thought she was one of the dancers, and I thought the woman in Cara's poem was a mother, not a wife. I seem to be hitting air-balls these last few days.
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  #26  
Old 11-12-2018, 10:29 PM
Michael Cantor Michael Cantor is offline
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Liked this very much, and not much I can offer as critique - it's quite good as is - but I can't let you get away unscathed, so would suggest rethinking "rapturous" in S2L4. It's too generic. Something more visual or unusual might bring a bit more to the poem. (That said, I can't think of anything except "tentative ovation", which certainly foreshadows the switch, but probably too strongly.)

(I caught Ailey II in Santa Fe a few years back, on another one of their tours of the provinces. Excellent company.)
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  #27  
Old 11-13-2018, 08:28 AM
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Catherine Chandler Catherine Chandler is offline
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Susan,


I really like this one.

My nits are mainly metrical (not wanting anyone to get her toes stepped on ;-), and the use of the "ide" rhyme twice in near succession. A few suggestions, for all they're worth. . . The words "light tap" are redundant (tapping implying lightness), so I thought some onomatopoeia might do the trick. Was bothered by the althoughs, shes, and hers. I also thought some borrowed French would add cred to the title.... Changed want to will as a nod to reality.


Danse Macabre

The dancers, taut as bows,
burn in their joyous fire.
They whirl, entwine, and pose
in friezes of desire.

No skeletons appear
to mock the celebration.
The dancers, bowing, hear
a rapturous ovation.

Outside, the wind blows colder.
She is enticed to linger,
but senses on her shoulder
the tap tap of a finger.

And, though she came alone,
there is no juste milieu,
a shadow, thin as bone,
directs this pas-de-deux,

then leaves. For now denied,
the ending's not in doubt:
the skeleton inside
eventually will out.

Last edited by Catherine Chandler; 11-13-2018 at 08:36 AM. Reason: A few more observations
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  #28  
Old 11-13-2018, 09:20 AM
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Daniel Kemper Daniel Kemper is offline
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I really like what you've got. I like friezes; for me it wasn't hard to imagine the fluidity of dance snapping to a pose that seems to linger forever before spinning off again. And the pun on "freeze in place" seemed to me to guarantee it.

Also I like "wants" out better than "will out", though there's a kind of ring to the archaic phrase (and everyone here knows I favor the old styles). I just don't see anything wrong with pathetic fallacy, so long as it's not overdone (like anything else).
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  #29  
Old 11-14-2018, 12:04 PM
Susan McLean Susan McLean is offline
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Thanks for the additional responses.

Sam, it is helpful to know that quite a few readers assumed the "she" was a dancer. I had not realized that that would be what many would think.

Michael, I originally had "thunderous" applause, so "rapturous" was an attempt to avoid a cliché. But rapture also connects to the desire in S1.

Cathy, I never mind suggestions for changes, since it is good to consider all possibilities. I had mentioned to Martin R. why I prefer "shock" to "mock," even there is a long tradition of seeing the skeletons in a danse macabre as being satirical or ironic. I think one could have a heavy tap on the shoulder that might be more startling. Here I want the lightness of the tap to suggest that it may all be in her head, not really happening at all. In S4 I am not trying to suggest that a dance is taking place, but just that the skeleton/shadow is a persistent but not overbearing suitor. Some of the metrical variations are quite deliberate. I had Auden's "As I Walked Out One Evening" as the model I was following in trying to make the trimeter not sound monotonous. In the last line I want to suggest that the skeleton inside does have a mind of its own and wants out. That ties in with the animation of the skeletons in the title, so it seems consistent to me.

Daniel, it was good to hear that "friezes" works for you, and that you prefer "wants out," as I do.

Susan
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