Wreath your head, lady, wreath your head,
Come so lately from the hard sleeping,
Come now from the hard, uncertain dreaming,
Where remnants of the past alone are spoken,
Where the fallen lie where they have fallen,
Until the music, tap, tap, tap, awakes them,
With its grave and terrible clatter-mouse tapping.
She is one of those who walk abroad,
Restless hope getting the better of her,
Forcing her out into the wide open.
She is the one who has already come
From that drowsy place of lonely grieving.
Her eyes are slate. For, dreaming,
She walks without seeing, stumbling
In her cracked and chattering shoes.
With cold legs, roughly chapped,
Mottled blue with cold,
Icicles hanging from her heels and toes.
See how she dances, this lone street orphan,
Out there dancing when the street is empty.
Her little feet clattering, leaping and jumping,
Like a foxy little hare seeking its own annihilation,
Like a little hare frightened of its own fierce ending.
She wears the coat of the hare, grey and grey,
Sweeping the skirt around her thin ankles,
Brittle little bones that snap when you kick them.
Watch our valiant Matador, ignoring
The curved and piercing horn looking to find her.
See her cover her eyes with painted fingers,
Pictures of roses, of ships sailing into oblivion
Finding a home on her own bitter parchment.
Until the written ink signs off, taking with it the lonely dancer.
Drowsy. Drowsy. Taking with it the slumbering ballerina.
© Gwen Grant