Posted by: Ron DuBour | September 12, 2018

“Dancing with the Muse”~by Michael Graves



“Dancing with the Muse”

Image may contain: one or more people

There’s something you have to
understand about dancing
with the Muse.

Nothing else
can touch
the soul-subsuming exhilaration
of the dance.

But it can also be fatal.

Ask Hemingway or Poe
(or a few hundred others)
and they’ll tell you:
“The Muse takes no prisoners.”

She will bring you
to places you have never been
then she’ll dump you out
and leave you to find your own way back.

And you will sit
and wait for her return
like some strung-out
lover, waiting by the phone
for a call. And the waiting

will tear out
your heart.

This was Ernie’s problem, in the end.
Edgar’s, too.
It’s no mystery
if you’ve danced.

When I first danced
(truly danced) with the Muse
I never wanted to return
to the world.

She brought me to see things
I had never
seen. Drew out
expressions I had never
before imagined, as she
consumed me, bit by bit with
the burning, holy fire.

And she left me
with an empty
craving hunger for creation
as she has with so many others (the whore).

Each of them grateful to be chosen
even while watching the erection
of the guillotine
at the end of this road.

The only way to beat the Muse
is to dance with her, and never
fail to lead.
You must drive your art.
You can’t let it drive you.

Just because the guillotine is built
does not mean
that your name has been
indelibly etched upon the blade.

She is the most impressive
of the figures of the dance.
For there are truly
“none like [her] among the dancers,
None with swift feet.”
None who cause the heart
to Pound.
None who balance quite so well
on motes drifting in the
sunlight shaft that penetrates
the darkened room.

You must lead.
And if you do, the Muse will follow
so adroitly that all
you notice is
the lightness
of the pas de deux.

–Graves 9/7/18


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