Dance Piece the still point, there the dance is.
—T. S. Eliot

The errand into the maze,
Emblem, the heel’s blow upon space,
Speak of the need and order the dancer’s will.
But the dance is still.

For a surmise of rest, over the flight of the dial,
Between shock of the fall, shock of repose,
The flesh in its time delivered itself to the trial,
And rose.

Suffrance: the lapse, the pause,
Were the will of the dance—
The movement-to-be, charmed from the shifts of the chance,
Intent on its cause.

And the terrible gift
Of the gaze, blind on its zenith, the wreath
Of the throat, the body’s unwearied uplift,
Unmaking and making its death,

Were ripeness, and theme for return:
Were rest, in the durance of matter:
The sleep of the musing Begetter
And the poise in the urn.


homage to Martha Graham

Ben Belitt, “Dance Piece” from Wilderness Stair (New York: Grove Press, 1955). Used by permission of the Estate of Ben Belitt.
Source: This Scribe My Hand: The Complete Poems of Ben Belitt (Louisiana State University Press, 1998)
More Poems by Ben Belitt