Using form: choice of metre: John Beaton, ‘Request for a Dance’

Step with me, float with me, over the floor;
weave with me, waltz with me, out through the door;
slide to the deck where the crowdedness clears;
glide through the garden and tear off your fears.

Step with me, sneak with me, down to the lake,
onto its waters; the mirror won’t break;
lilt in a ball gown of luminous mist;
twirl till you’re breathless and need to be kissed.

Step with me, skim with me, let yourself go,
dazzling and dizzy, then flowingly slow;
whirl till our swirls make a maelstrom of night;
pass through the portal from here to delight.

Step with me, sway with me, feel yourself swing,
hammocked on rhythms of hearts on the wing;
move to the measures of seasons and years;
sweep to that island where time disappears.

Step with me, slip with me, up to its crypt,
quaff a last laugh from the pleasures we’ve sipped;
curtsey and smile at a parting of hands
joined in this dancing by two wedding bands.

*****

John Beaton writes: “Inspired by Richard Wilbur’s beautiful ‘For C,’ and by my own marriage, I wanted to write a poem about lifelong love. For the beginning, a wedding dance came to mind and that expanded into an extended metaphor. The theme needed a form that danced the reader along.
I adopted a four-line stanza rhymed aabb with the meter of each line being a form of dactylic tetrameter: DA-da-da, DA-da.da, DA-da-da, DA. To kick off each stanza dancingly, I used near-repetition in the first two dactyls. Then a lot of alliteration and internal rhyme help it swirl along.
The poem develops the dance into a shared lifelong experience, one that must end but does so with a sense of fulfilment and beauty. I’ve recited it at weddings.”

John Beaton’s metrical poetry has been widely published and has won numerous awards. He recites from memory as a spoken word performer and is author of Leaving Camustianavaig published by Word Galaxy Press. Raised in the Scottish Highlands, John lives in Qualicum Beach on Vancouver Island.
https://www.john-beaton.com/

Photo: “Wedding Dance” by DonnaBoley is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

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