Dancing Janet


Janet, dancing Janet, what disease
set the nerves sparking down your limbs
and sends you writhing when I catch your eye
fighting for your purse in the shop’s queue?

Where do you find the courage and the strength
to come each day into this busy town
dancing your frenzied dance all unashamed
as we all drop our eyes and turn away?

Life has lent you barely thirty years
and burdened you with this for all your days,
your body despite its torment fit and strong,
your spirit bright and sharp as tempered steel.

For a moment I see you from my corner
of the café, at ease and still,
cigarette held high and steady in your hand,
glimpse the person prisoned in your dance;

and in your dreams, I wonder, do you parade
steady as this down the whole High Street’s hill
or stand serene on the heath’s great mound
for all the world to see you, standing still.


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