Jan 23 2017
Those Who Do Not Dance
by Gabriela Mistral
English version by Helene Masslo Anderson
A crippled child
Said, “How shall I dance?”
Let your heart dance
Then the invalid said:
“How shall I sing?”
Let your heart sing
Then spoke the poor dead thistle,
“But I, how shall I dance?”
Let your heart fly to the wind
Then God spoke from above
“How shall I descend from the blue?”
Come dance for us here in the light
All the valley is dancing
Together under the sun,
And the heart of him who joins us not
Is turned to dust, to dust.
/ Image by tasiaraye /
I thought this poem might be a good choice in honor of the weekend’s Women’s Marches across the world.
With this poem, the great Chilean poet, Gabriela Mistral, through simple language, is exploring how we move beyond our assumed limitations and express joy, creativity, life. How do we dance when the body does not respond? When we have grown dry and prickly and lost most of our substance, is it possible we can fly? Even God, at least the God of our imaginations, needs an invitation in which we gather together in the light.
The more we remember, as we see our limitations as new pathways rather than roadblocks, we begin to come alive, reconnect, and dance, until all valley is in movement with us under the sun.
|Women in Praise of the Sacred: 43 Centuries of Spiritual Poetry by Women||Selected Poems of Gabriela Mistral|
Gabriela Mistral is one of the great Chilean poets of the 20th century. She started writing poetry as a young schoolteacher when a romance ended tragically with the young man’s suicide. She continued to teach and write until her poetry gained national and international attention.
Her poetry often explores themes of childhood, love, and loss. But, as you can see in several of these poems, her work often reaches inward to a deep sense of inner awakening.