After Danse Russe*
A hundred years ago, a composer
wrote music about a puppet who
comes alive when his strings are
cut. Then a poet who delivered
babies wrote a poem stirred by
the same thing; confessing to his
grotesque loneliness, to his tangle
of strings in the middle of the day.
And I confess to my own blunt
meanderings like a bear without
food in a glass forest. Forget being
original. If cut free, we are drawn
to the Origins where the arrhythmia
of being awake and alive at the same
time forces the heart to stop ever so
briefly when we realize we are all
alone and yet never alone. All of
us puppets dreaming of no strings.
*William Carlos Williams wrote his poem Danse Russe (French for Russian Dance) in 1917. The poem centers on a puppet who comes alive once his strings are cut and Williams’ poem speaks to his own coming alive in a moment of solitude. It is interesting that the ballet Petrushka was debuted in 1911 by The Ballets Russes (French for The Russian Ballets); the legendary, itinerant ballet company directed by Sergei Diaghilev between 1909 and 1929. The original music for Petrushka was composed by Igor Stravinsky. Petrushka is a traditional Russian story of a puppet who comes to life.