Thursday, 14 June 2012

Not really a poem but some sort of a love song for the man I saw dancing in North End

Waiting at the traffic lights
I watched you dancing.
On the pavement of a busy street
filled with shoppers
and people going home
or somewhere.

You were totally absorbed
gyrating at the centre
of your own world,
way outside the boundaries
of ours, with its unspoken
and outspoken agreements
of what is 'appropriate' behaviour.
Of what is acceptable enough
to merge anonymously
into this particular matrix.

You stood out alone,
not even legitimised by a purpose,
no Jubilee street parties now,
no hat at your feet for spare change.
Your smart black hat firmly on your head,
asking for nothing, not open to trade.

Your body swayed and moved
like you had Caribbean sands
beneath your feet,
not those hard grey pavements.

Your face turned upwards, smiling,
like it was shining under a sun so radiant
you did not notice the cold dark skies
and spots of rain.

You looked peaceful, happy even,
no one yet bursting your bubble,
your arms waving and spiralling
in the air above your head,
your legs and feet moving your body
to a rhythm none of us could hear.

Yet watching you
there was music
visible, almost audible ~
somewhere beyond the grumble of engines
and the mental shouting of assumptions
and judgements, doors always slamming in your face
to contain the unpredictable,
the incomprehensible?
You the untouchable, somebody's son.

I saw the small crowd
nearby at the bus stop
laughing uncomfortably,
some taking the piss,
some moving further along
looking away down the road.
People carrying bulging bags
walking in elaborate detours
to avoid passing too close,
repelled by an invisible force-field
several feet around you.

Anxious about the possibility of engagement.
Scared... of what?
Scared you would kill them
or talk to them
or get them to dance?
Scared they would catch some notes
of the mysterious melody,
that their feet or their hearts
would skip a beat
to those unseen drums?
Scared of surrendering
to what is broken,
of not being able to mend,
none of us ever knowing
what's coming for us
around the next bend.
Scared of not understanding,
only guessing at what drugs or illness
or crisis brought you to this moment?

So we walk on by,
we get on the bus.
The lights change,
we drive on.

We are all getting on with our lives
fearful of scarcity
unsure if there is enough
compassion to go around.

And just supposing you were dancing
for nothing but the pure uninhibited joy of it,
because you are alive,
because this world gets more insane
with every passing second
and you are shimmying your own
way of surviving it.

How mad would that be?


  1. Oh Fran, you have such a wonderful way of expressing your thoughts and feelings, and such understanding xxx

  2. You have captured the energy and soul of a person, who has connected with something within and dared to express it physically - an unbounded expression of his feelings and physical presence.

    If only more people would dance and express themselves openly, children do beautifully.

    Keep writing Fran, you have a gift in your communication that is received with heartfelt grattitude. x