Thursday, April 14, 2011

The Dance

"The Kermess," by Pieter Brueghel (1520?-1569)

In Breughel’s great picture, The Kermess,
the dancers go round, they go round and
around, the squeal and the blare and the
tweedle of bagpipes, a bugle and fiddles
tipping their bellies (round as the thick-
sided glasses whose wash they impound)
their hips and their bellies off balance
to turn them. Kicking and rolling about
the Fair Grounds, swinging their butts, those
shanks must be sound to bear up under such
rollicking measures, prance as they dance
in Breughel’s great picture, The Kermess.

~William Carlos Williams (1883-1963)

~*~ ~*~ ~*~

This poem and the painting are in my college literature book (of all the textbooks I kept this one gets used the most often -- yesterday's poem came from it too) while flipping through it this morning looking for a poem today. Obviously, after yesterday's post on Poetic Knowledge, this one caught my eye. While searching online for a copy of the painting to use, I found this site, which you might want to check out. It shares some information about kind of dance that might be represented in the painting plus there's a video of the kind of music they might be dancing to, and there's a link to a recording of William Carlos Williams himself reading his poem. Enjoy!

1 comment :

  1. This selection fits nicely with Goethe's adage ~

    One ought every day at least to

    hear a little song,
    read a good poem,
    see a fine picture,
    and, if it were possible,
    to speak a few reasonable words.

    Off to listen ...


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