Dance of Veils

Whispering Shadow_snippet

for Monday prompt Aug. 2 at
The prompt, this week, was to take a look at ones own poetry and find what might have become a ‘comfort zone’ within the writing itself. Then to create a piece of work that goes against, or does the opposite of what one feels comfortable with.

I found the prompt, both challenging, and even a bit intimidating. My ‘comfort zone’ is quite wide, and I’ll pretty much try anything once, or more, and if it works, it goes on the spacious desk of my ‘zone’, to be used whenever and wherever it suits. However, bottom level, I am a died in the wool personal/confessional poet. That capitol I is of grave importance to me personally, because for a long time it was denied to all women, as in “History” that lacked most, if not all, of “Herstory”, due to an arbitrarily defined set of pronouns. So, instead of tackling my entire comfort zone, I confronted this most basic cornerstone of my poetic structure. I used to use the third person because I was originally very shy of exposing myself to any and all criticism. That quite quickly left with my ever growing brick smashing reality.

I do hold two degrees, one in History and another in English. However, I also hold un-credited minors in Philosophy and Women’s Studies (stop and think for a moment about the reality that the latter of those two courses of study was not a reality until the latter half of the recently past century). Those ever present arrays of electives were just too tempting, as well as the many hours spent in casual conversation with Professors and fellow students. But, much of that has been pushed to simmer, onto the back burner, as I have honed my personal preferences in the writing field.

The present piece comes, once again, from something that was said in a casual conversation. And it seemed to fit the prompt for me and what I was trying to do. The sub-title started out as a tongue-in-cheek afterthought, but as the poem developed, became a definite statement of my own thought process. I also do not usually mess with the structure of a piece, but this one definitely called for just such a device, as well as the font change I used. Perhaps, just as important (and harder to do), was to take the stance of an oberver, rather than that of an immediate participant.

Dance of Veils:
A Purely Historical and Philosophical Treatise
on the Affair Between Men and Women

She trembles, can barely move
wrapped in the gossamer veils
he has covered her in
for centuries. Ears and eyes
blinded by silken promises,
she barely hears when he says,
“You may begin.”

He fidgets with excitement
as he sits to watch what he
believes his greatest creation.
Sees barely revealed tremble
and knows, she wants this
as much as he does.

She moves one finger
finds edge of single veil,
hooks, then gathers it in
slowly. Lets it drop away
and feels the blessing
of cool air on skin
too long covered in thin
multi-layers of performance
on demand. Cocks her head
to listen, and so continues…

He grasps hold of each veil
tosses them over his shoulders,
drops them in lap, wrapping
around waist, hips now trembling
with feverish pleasure,
as inch by inch of gleaming oiled
skin appears. Sees her head
cock as if to listen, revealing
delicate curve of neck and he knows
she has caught aroused scent
that breathes in air between them.

She feels welling wildness within,
catches whiff of possibility of freedom,
knows, without knowing
how she knows, that she must move
slowly, has forever been told
she must keep her head bowed,
covered until the very end.

He grows edgy with agitation,
in frenzy, grabs each veil
to re-possess these gifts he
has so carefully given, bestowed
ever so graciously upon that which
he knows his greatest possession.
Her almost languid movements, seductive
to all of his senses, he even throws
the veils over his head,
almost laughing out loud
at what he anticipates
with dominant fixation.

Her limbs, now free, she lifts
her arms to reach for final veil
that binds and blinds her. Hears
his groans, his sighs, as she slides
it slowly from her face and eyes,
shuttered for an eternity see light,
a doorway, a man sitting there
in his chair, lost in silent revelry.
She moves with certainty, brushing
his hands, legs, his shoulders,
gently pats his head, then without
a word goes still and silent.

He, now unable to see, knows she
has moved to be near him, hears
slight whisper of silk, feels her hands
lightly touch his own, slide down
his legs to his feet, then feels her
move away, he knows, to watch
his own unfolding. When he finds
veils have been tied in swift sure knots,
he chuckles low down in his throat
and roughly grumbles, “Oh, I know now,
you want to play, we will, all evening
and into tomorrow, and maybe even
next day,”

as she runs through moonlit night, free
and naked, joined by wild four-leggeds,
while feathered friends fly above
and beside her. All come to guide,
to protect, and to join in celebration
of her longed for escape, her release
that speaks of their own, and her
finally accomplished freedom. She
stumbles almost to a stop. Thinks
of the man and all that has happened.
Steels herself to continue, knowing
deep in her soul, again not quite
knowing how she knows, that until
they first meet as complete, whole,
yet separate entities, they can never
truly be equally and always together.

And he, still tied to his throne,
shakes his head disbelieving,
after giving her everything
he has always known she desired,
she would run away, alone. Desert
the home he so willingly offered.
Finally remembers that initial fear
he felt when first she appeared,
that he could never truly possess her.
As one single tear breaks loose,
he sighs in utter confusion, whispers
forlornly, into cold dark night,
“Women, who can possibly
understand them.”

Elizabeth Crawford  8/6/10

This is a very old piece I stumbled upon in the past week. Decided to share it again. Image is a digital painting shared by a friend.

Newly posted at Poets United: Poetry Pantry #392

About 1sojournal

Loves words and language. Dances on paper to her own inner music. Loves to share and keeps several blogs to facilitate that. They can be found here:
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51 Responses to Dance of Veils

  1. vivinfrance says:

    Elizabeth, this merits reading and re-reading and re-reading. Enormous significance in the story, great skill in the writing, long-lasting effect in my mind. You should get out of your comfort zone more often!

    Question: I’ve been trying to work out whether the use of the word “revelry” – as in lost in silent revelry – was intentional, or whether you meant “reverie”?

    Question 2: Did you know where the story would end when you started writing?



  2. vivinfrance says:

    PS I love the layout!


  3. 1sojournal says:

    Oh Questions! I love it. Yes, the revelry was intended. Reverie is more a silent examination of things, a memory, image, or simply an inner journey or tangent. I wanted to express the height of excitement, anticipation of what was to come, but also the idea of an already decided outcome.

    Actually, I had a vague idea of where it could, might end, but each time I went back to the piece, I found things I wanted to add. This is my concept of not just the immediate image, but the passage of a great deal of time. It is obviously a metaphor, compressed, for centuries of relationship. And although the ending I had in mind actually did take shape, there were places along the way that needed further examination and work. So, the answer is more yes, than no. I had the ending just had to figure out how to get there, lol.

    I thought the layout would be very difficult to actually do here on site. But, I think I’m actually learning things as I go, and have picked up far more than I thought I had.

    Thanks Viv for your wonderfully welcome comments and your questions, and I feel like I’ve been pushing those boundaries ever since I stumbled into the BTP site. This, however was a huge leap.



  4. Mary says:

    Writing out of your comfort zone produced a wonderful poem. I love the way you worked with the characters. The male thought he was in control. However, the woman merely waited until it was the right time and then took her own control and achieved her own freedom. The male who thought he was smart was outsmarted.

    Mary, thank you for the comments. It was hard work trying not to have it all come off sort of cheesy. That isn’t what I wanted. As I said in the intro, it started off as a sort of tongue-in-cheek thing, but once I got into it, all that knowledge and history kicked in and I realized that I wanted to do much more then write a poem. I definitely wanted to tell a story, one that would ring true with the actual cost of dominance and control necessary for the Patriachy to overwhelm the Matriarchy that came before it. And the cost is to both men and women and the natural world they inhabit.

    Glad you enjoyed it,



  5. derrick2 says:

    Oh ladies, Elizabeth, women always outsmart men!!! The title naturally suggested the dance of seven veils and I had imagined that there might be seven stanzas but the story, so cleverly built, obviously needed more. I really enjoyed the opening lines “wrapped in the gossamer veils/he has covered her in/for centuries.” Women, such as Salome, have always known the power they hold over men. It is of course men who are weak and dependent, which is why they fought for so long! I’m neither a male chauvinist nor a misogynist and I enjoyed your poem, Elizabeth!

    Derrick, I am pleased to hear that. Although I am aware of the Dance of Seven Veils, I was far more interested in showing that transferral of power (veils) that occurs when we fail to recognize the wholeness inherent in any living creature, be that human or otherwise, male or female. The need for cold objective logic, to be warmed and expanded by the softer enfolding of intuition, and the cost to all of us when we are not encouraged to find the expansion that will occur when we truly become help-mates to one another. How much we harm ourselves when we fail to see the inherent value within the other.

    Thank you for your comments,



  6. Derrick echos the thoughts that formed in my mind as I read this piece. There is a coy sensuality in the poetry that is revealed in many stories, songs, and poetry of the Middle Eastern cultures. Elizabeth you have definitely captured that persona in your poem. I thoroughly enjoyed reading and visualizing the thread you have woven into the juxtaposition of the narration. Your talent is showing.

    Donald, thank you for the compliments and the comments. When one addresses the “Affair Between Men and Women”, one must of necessity also address the passion and sensuality that moves between them. I had a friend in college, a woman older than myself, who often spoke of her theory of the molecules that are ever present between the two genders. She’d love this poem, lol, and tell me, “Oh Elizabeth, I can see those molecules leaping all over the place in this one.” And she would be definitely correct about that, lol.

    Thanks for stopping and reading,



  7. pamela says:

    Elizabeth beautifully crafted poem and worth reading over and over!

    Pamela, words that warm a poet’s heart, while firing the imagination. Thank you much,



  8. systematicweasel says:

    Writing outside of the comfort zone produced an excellent read! Great post!


    Hi Weasel, from what I have read so far, that seems to be true across the board. Have a wonderful day,



  9. Just like the veils you unwrapped the meaning layer by layer.



  10. 1sojournal says:

    Thank you, Linda…that is the exact effect I was aiming at. He speaking, while she listens, he knowing, while she intuits, she unwrapping self, while he gets covered and blinded, taking for granted what she sees fresh and new. And the very need of the one for the other to find true wholeness, not just as individuals, but as the pair they were always meant to be.



  11. brenda w says:

    Elizabeth, This is fantastic! As a woman, I thank you for the heart and soul in this piece. It is lovely. Your comment to Linda is particulary interesting to me. The back and forth dance of your characters reveals more of who they are—genius! Now I’m off to reread. Thanks for sharing this. ~Brenda


  12. 1sojournal says:

    Brenda, thank you for finding the heart and soul within the poem. That comment is absolutely wonderful to hear and to hug to myself. Perhaps, when we stretch ourselves beyond the boundaries of our chosen comfort zone, what we reveal of our own content is what we should be seeking in that endeavor, what we have feared to expose before, becomes necessay for that stretch to be completed. I love this prompt! Can you tell? Happy reading,



  13. beyourownstory says:

    Where can I possibly begin? All the other comments here have covered most of what I wanted to say and, when they didn’t, your replies did. So I’ll leave it to this: I’ve always said you should stretch more (pun intended)! Absolutely found this piece riviting. Good work, Elizabeth.


  14. 1sojournal says:

    Susan, thank you, and as for the intended pun, you should know by now that those muscles have left home and gone in search of a more receptive audience, lol. Riviting hunh? That one I’m gonna take to the bank and put in the security box (and don’t believe for a moment that I will refrain from using it, whenever I have a need to do so). Payback, as they say, is a bitch.



  15. Paul Oakley says:

    Very well presented, Elizabeth! This would be such an easier “affair” if (most) women didn’t have as powerful a need/desire for men as (most) men do for women – yes not for every purpose but for enough to complicate it all. So much easier if it were only a story about oppression and escape. But thrown into the mix is need and desire and attraction and even love/ affection.

    I like the way you build the conflict on the model of the Dance of the Seven Veils, so complicated by its being intertwined into the Biblical narrative of the beheading of John the Baptist, where the dance is performed by the king’s niece/step-daughter for the king and the bigshots he’s entertaining. But it is her mother, who prevails against her husband by so using her daughter. So the mother is also oppressing the daughter. And the victim, the wrong against whom can never be mended, is another man who never had any power over her.

    Thus I see in your presentation of oppression and escape layers of thrust and parry and probably missing of one target only to hit another of less consequence. But I like that your “she” escapes and hopes for the day when equality is possible.



  16. 1sojournal says:

    Paul, when I showed the first two completed verses of the poem to a friend, her response was to say that Salome might be jealous. And I couldn’t agree with you more, that both parties are guilty of using not just one another, but even their own offspring to get whatever they most deeply desire. Or anyone else who should in some small way, come between them and that desire. There are no ‘innocents’ in this Affair.

    And what I like most about the she I have created here, is that although she breaks free, she also stumbles and must steel herself to continue. In that moment, she thinks of him, knows her own desire, and perhaps because of that very first sense of true freedom, also finds with that stumbling, the possible balance between the old and whatever newness remains to be found.

    Thank you very much for your well thought out, and deep consideration of my attempts. You have made me rethink and realize several more things I might want to address within the whole of the piece itself. As it is, I thought the piece might be too long for this venue, but the folks here are graciously forgiving when it comes to all aspects of creating poetry. And that also is a wonderful gift.

    Thank you again for your comments and thoughtful suggestions, they are of great value and I am glad you took the time to make them.



  17. Tumblewords says:

    Totally interesting and mesmerizing as it moves from voice to voice. Excellent use of the prompt!


  18. 1sojournal says:

    Thank you Tumblewords, that was pretty much how I felt while writing it. And this prompt seems to have brought out some wonderful poems and lots of creativity for everyone involved.



  19. pieceofpie says:

    yeah, what linda sed…. i was reminded of another time as one of the stories from the night of a thousand stories


  20. 1sojournal says:

    Hello, piece of pie, thanks for stopping and commenting. I think, in the back of my mind was an image of something like what you mention. A different time, veils like a bit of fog,blurring both time and meaning. Or, at least that was my hope.



  21. EKSwitaj says:

    This is amazing and intense. It was painful to read but in a good way.


  22. 1sojournal says:

    Hello EK, and thank you for your comments. I have been told, most of my life, that I think too much. That one has always been difficult for me to understand. But, I realize that it comes from the reality that the things I am most interested in and passionate about, are those which I get most intense about. And this happens to be one of them. Actually two of them. Poetry and what might be referred to as “Women’s Issues”. The fact that it is also within the context of another interest, History, might have really topped the intensity scale.

    As for the ‘amazing’ definition: I’m a bit amazed myself. I started out to write a poem and found myself doing just that but in a far different manner than usual. I followed the prompt and found myself in a definitely uncomfortable place. The first and initial draft was very stiff and actually looked more like an outline for some sort of academic treatise, which is where the sub-title came from. I was laughing at myself. The task then became turning said prose outline into a poem that held together, but still hit all the steps that had gotten me there.

    And because one cannot completely divorce oneself from ones own bias, this still remains a personal poem, and holds a large piece of my personal story within it. A story that is far from painless. But, because the prompt was aimed at getting me outside my own comfort zone, it also allowed me to step inside the beginnings of the healing process that story demands. And it did just that.

    Thank you again, for your comments. I find each of these comments an extension of the process originated by the prompt itself.



  23. neil reid says:

    Oh Elizabeth, I’ve not the time to respond as I might – or want. This brief poem speaks of so very much, and even yet is a veil to far more…

    The title alone is worth the price of admission here! Says near in one essence the poem complete as it performs the dance itself. Who’d have guessed so much for a supposedly mere sub-title! Marvelous!

    I celebrate that singular prompt – be something else, something you yet don’t know. It is the best prompt I know for writing poems, for life itself. I thank you for receiving it. Think really it is something we should always hold close; one life alone is such a small point, when all it wants is simply to be – everything. Thanks for “stepping out”.

    The physical format works well for this play of mutually “missed” conversations, each given to, contained within themselves, yet near veiled ever brief, wanting, desiring something more, something outside their individual selves. Good.

    I confess a bias once removed. While male, suppose I am not very typical on the whole. Yet still male and only at some distance can appreciate from another gender point of view how it might be to be on that common end of an undesired equation (leave out the equal sign, although it should always have been there and seen and appreciated). Uncomfortable to see how males can be (even if not directly me). I side easily more to another side (what I wonder), yet remember too, all those males also came from mothers too, and there did the child grow.

    But aside from only gender’s gaze, this poem demonstrates so well that distance between two, any two, who do not yet see themselves as one in the same. All those conversations directed internally, thinking somehow it represents reality, rather than the blindness it must. Not to speak with another (any other) is most sad, but forget even sad, it misses the point of existence itself – to recognize the other within oneself, then recognize there is no “other” at all. Isn’t this our daily life?

    I think (or hope) this poem wants to grow. (Like often reading your poems, something more seems close, wants to speak – meaning by that, good.) I wonder what thoughts would come to both after their new-found freedom (even if both have doubts, differently). Wonder more, what real conversation might be if they came together equally. Does that thought come to you? (Ha! Is that just desire for a “happy ending” or continuing? But why not! Isn’t that a worthy imagining?) (Just my rambling wish!)

    The image of veils is so perfect for this poem’s conversation. Well chosen indeed!
    Thank you Elizabeth for sharing this poem.


  24. 1sojournal says:

    Neil, this conversation must continue because we just aren’t there yet. It may yet take thousands more years before it finds its completion. But, it has its beginning and that is important.

    Thank you so much for your enthusiasm and insights. And I know at some point I must address the issues of sons and mothers, which must perhaps be another conversation more veiled than this present one. The same as that one between daughters and fathers. But, that’s a leap into the future. At the present moment, I need to actually finish taking in what I have already written here. I think that is more important at the moment. I need to go back and see the words I have chosen and let them teach me all of the lessons bound up in their meanings. Afterall, I too own a bias as to gender, and need to see it and how it affected those chosen expressions.

    I often find that each poem is, at its center, another lesson waiting to be found, grasped hold of and allowed to grow in that place where it originated. Only then can it be truly free to go forth and multiple, lol, did I just say that? There was a time when it was enough to finish the writing itself. That isn’t enough anymore. I feel a need to go back and explore the full extent of whatever is there.

    You said in your other comment that you felt a need within these poems to listen for more. And I understand that, now. Might not have in the past, but certainly do now. But, also realize that is because I (you, and any other breathing entity), none of us is done yet. We are still evolving, still growing, and its important to go back and check on that growth, sort it from the weeds that might have popped up since the last perusal.

    Thank you, again for stopping and commenting. You leave so much to think and consider.



  25. What a wonderful story…I waited with bated breath as I read, hoping it would turn out just as it did!
    Although you wrote this to seem like “ancient” history, the message is so very current. As a woman coming of age on the cusp of the Womens Liberation movement I had a choice, to continue on the older ways or to strike out for new…I am so glad I did the latter! Seems most of my contemporaries who made the other choice are not happy with it…)


  26. 1sojournal says:

    Cynthia, I attended college in the midst of the Movement, but was middle-aged at the time. It was a strikingly important moment to be there and at that age. I took part in a ‘Take Back the Night’ march and it holds incredible memories for me in so many ways. And that was only one of the many and varied effects and affects of the experience. I was in the end stages of a dissolving marriage, and have to admit that much of what I came to know because of it, brought a much swifter end to that union. An end that I have not regretted. I have never been a devout ‘feminist’, much more a humanist, and I think that also is because of my age at that time of opening up and examination of traditional and established role archetypes. Yet another choice I will continue to stand by.

    But, your comment is of utmost importance, as far as I am concerned. That it opened a door to those who were still coming behind, that gave them an actually clearly defined choice if not many, is the real importance in all of this. I have three daughters and have watched them all make those choices and am glad that I can look back at my own as a possibility for each of them, is something I cherish.

    I’m glad the story went in the direction you hoped for, but the story is far from ended or over. So much more is still waiting to occur in this story, in all of our stories. And as Neil points out in his comment, the real conversation has yet to honestly begin. Human history moves slowly for a reason and a purpose. And the kinds of changes that must take place for that conversation to truly begin are still in front of us. Perhaps our daughters and their daughters will hold the candles we lit and begin that longed for discussion.



  27. gospelwriter says:

    How many times have I read this now, and not known how to comment? It’s huge, really, as a project, and nudges vaguely at my own discomfort (never mind yours in writing), for reasons I haven’t fully examined.

    Love the title you chose for your exposition, the subtitle even more, for its clever tongue-in-cheek-ness. The poem itself, the voices, couched in layers of history and performing a complicated if highly ritualized dance (maybe that’s my discomfort – who can figure it out, the dance? – I’ve never much been one for following routine, for doing it – anything – the way generations of others have done it), makes me think of the beautiful mating dances of certain bird species… Artful presentation as well, of the whole.

    A thought: In ritual, it’s not each other we dance with, and it’s not even just the veiled other (doubly, quadruply veiled, what each of us places between us = what I hide from you about myself and what I hide from myself about you, etc.), it’s the eons of time and places and situations… I have to stop, I’m depressing myself. 🙂


  28. 1sojournal says:

    Thank you Ruth, you just mirrored my own response to each step in this process, from slight chuckle at the thought, the horror of what the hell I’d gotten myself into, to the dance of the words as they constantly slipped behind those veils after exposing themselves, and the slight depression when it was completed and the awareness hit that it couldn’t be completed, only paused for a moment in those eons of time.

    And I humbly thank you for letting me know that I have been, not just heard, but understood. That is priceless.



  29. Yes, what he said above. Except, here, it is more complicated. For some reason the more evolved one becomes, the more potential to become entangled into complicated webs of desire and longing. To find one can love so much, and yet never completely. For me, I’ve found two things I desire most: Passion and Family. The two don’t need to be mutually exclusive but they sometimes are. There is not one perfect mate and in my reason, I know this, and I can’t figure how to reconcile it. How to make it work, stay alive and who I am.

    I’ve said to much, I’m afraid.

    365days–Or maybe not enough. I am not encouraging you to speak here, but surely there is a space you can do so. Some place that will allow you to speak without fear of whatever hurts or haunts you. Whatever entangles you and does not allow you to move freely.

    I seek out those places regularly. My journal, poetry, a few friends who love and do not judge. Sometimes its music, or a book I have never read before, yet find that space within its pages. And sometimes that space is just me alone, speaking aloud so that I can hear what I myself am saying. They are there, we just have to seek them out. Sometimes, we don’t even know that is what we are seeking, don’t know it til we are there and speaking.

    I invited you here because I wanted to hear what you thought. And although I understand what you mean about the temptation to become entangled, I find that I am happiest when I am both entangled, yet free to move at my own pace. Free to walk away and seek one of those places, so that when I am empty once again, I can re-enter the entanglement. Personally, I need both. Those connections that tell me I am still alive, but even more so that connection with self that allows me to see I am whole, as well.

    I hope you can find that balance, you are welcome here at any time,



  30. mory says:

    this is indeed a very innovative form of poetry. the story is very wonderful. I can see the feminism influence in this poem.



  31. 1sojournal says:

    Hi Mory and I’m glad that you like it. Not sure how innovative it is. But, thank you for thinking so. As I said above, I’m not a strictly femenist individual. I really do prefer to stay open to as much possiblility as can be held by one individual. The openness is more important, to me, than any particular definition. And although I am aware of the feminist influince, this particular poem has its beginnings and story line, based in my own personal experiences more than anything else.

    Thank you for your comments. I particularly like the wonderful. Wonderful is good.



  32. Deb says:

    I enjoyed reading your process notes as much as I did the poem. Thank you for explicating how you went about this week’s idea – it helped me appreciate the poem on another level.

    The poem reads to me like a classic myth.

    Hi Deb,

    I think the journey to the poem is just as important as the end product, just as the journey is, most often more important than the destination. When I look at other’s poems, I often find myself asking, “How did you get here from there?” And very often, I find that almost every poem has some sort of story behind it. And I’m very glad that it helped you get a deeper meaning from the poem itself.

    Funny, but I find that recently I am referring to my poetry writing as ‘myth making’ from my own story. Perhaps because I’ve been doing a lot of Jungian reading along the way. So much of our concepts about the world, how it works, and our place within comes from myths and the like. I have long been interested in Mythology, and its symbolism, so I’m not all that surprised to find that creeping into my own voice.

    Thanks for stopping in Deb, and this prompt was a super one. It seems to have stretched all of us and that’s a really good outcome.



  33. Jeeves says:

    LOVELY layout and poems


  34. 1sojournal says:

    Thank you Jeeves,

    my older sister once told me that I often bite off more than I can chew. I thought about her and what she said a lot this past week, lol. But, it all worked out in the end. Thank goodness.



  35. Diane T says:

    Elizabeth, I very much enjoyed your poem. I didn’t know quite what to expect when I read the title, but as time went on I realized it was a bit tongue in cheek…LOL. The story was a wonderful one, and the pace of the poem seemed to quicken as it went on. And the ending was priceless. Wonderful work.


  36. 1sojournal says:

    Hi Diane, the title was as much a part of the process as all the rest of it. And although the pace was deliberate because of the time covered, I’m afraid it was also a result of my own impatience to finish, and a fear of losing the interest of the reader. As far as the definition of ‘priceless’, I think that might have to remain in the eye and mind of the beholder. Thank you much for the comments: Wonderful is very good to hear.



  37. Stepping outside yourself to become the observer worked wonders here. The struggle for control, I think, is something buried deep in the DNA of primates and I’m not sure we’ll ever get past this tortured dynamic, no matter how enlightened we become. For those of who do in whatever small ways, there’s a sense of social ostracism for not playing the game. Your poem provokes so many thoughts, it could probably be the centerpiece for a seminar :).


  38. 1sojournal says:

    Francis, your comment and the very valid points you raise would be half of that seminar, I believe. The struggle for control is buried deep, but at least part of the solution might be found within your opening statement. Stepping outside ones normal position can and does work wonders, so why not here within these tortured dynamics? Granted it would take a great deal of time, and might look less like a dance of veils and more like a toreador waving a red flag, but I still think it might be worth it.

    OMG, I just had one of those images. Me, the old woman, standing in front of you, the younger man, saying, “Now, don’t you worry that handsome little head of yours, honey, we’ll figure it all out while you do the dishes.” Shit! That’s awful and certainly wouldn’t help matters at all. I have no idea why my mind does that. Except that, until we actually do step inside another’s shoes and walk in them for a while, we seem almost completely unable to truly understand. We need to own that other experience, before we can begin to know its fuller consequences. And maybe that is why I see poetry as a straight line decendant of prophecy. That ability to draw word images that elicit a direct response of the emotional knowing buried in all individuals.

    At least, I know exactly what you mean by the social ostracism applied to those who choose to not play the game, and I believe that would become the other half of the seminar. And a major reason why, if there is ever to come a resolution to this dance, this conversation, it will take a long long time to occur. Those wounds would, must be healed, before it can even begin.

    Thank you for your very profound comments. Trust me, they were heard and understood. And please forgive that misdemeanor of an image. But, you on the other hand have started a three act play inside my head, and I have never, ever even considered for a moment, writing drama. Whew!



  39. thotpurge says:

    That’s beautifully narrated Elizabeth..the story of gender equality, of history, of power…a silken veil can become a iron shackle when enough is …enough.


  40. Sanaa Rizvi says:

    My goodness!💞 I don’t even know where to begin! This is so incredibly rich in imagery and detail! You capture wonderfully the magnetic allure that resides between a man and a woman and how despite their differences they come together even if it’s only for a brief time period. Love, love, love this poem!💞


  41. Rommy says:

    A good fable about the battle of the sexes as created by patriarchal conventions. There’s a cautionary tale for both sides in there. Understanding will come – when people actually sit down and learn something about the other instead of respond in some prescribed pantomime because its expected of them.


  42. Mary says:

    Wow, I love this poem share, Elizabeth. I see I was one of the early commenters back then; and in addition to savoring a reread, I enjoyed reading all of the names of commenters who were poetry friends way back then….a few wonderful poets /friends who have passed on to the next life, and some who are undoubtedly still around but seem to have left the blogosphere. I would say the same thing as I said the first time really. Indeed, the man was outsmarted in the end!


  43. This is a stunning piece. Marvellous usage of words to create a vivid imagery.
    “that he could never truly possess her ” – that lingering fear forcing to always dominate.


  44. Sherry Marr says:

    I love her escape with the wild four-leggeds…..and the fact that no, he can never truly possess her. No one can, though they may try. A wonderful write, my friend.


  45. annell4 says:

    This is a wonderful thoughtful write. A theme that could and should be returned to. I’ve missed you.


  46. This was a wonderful read… I think of Salome and her veils… the play of power between the two of them, and that perfect end of a separation that gave her power (I prefer this rather than John the Baptist’s head)…

    Also so special to see the commentators realizing how much the poetry community has changed.


  47. This is a powerful, relevant piece even today…especially today! I am glad you shared it today!


  48. Beverly Crawford says:

    What a mesmerizing read, Elizabeth! So glad you brought it front and center again. It’s timely,


  49. gillena says:

    Luv the passion and the drama. The surprised outcome of the female fleeing to freedom is soothing to the feminine ego.
    Happy Sunday Elizabeth



  50. Rosemary Nissen-Wade says:

    A very old piece – but still relevant. I love the tale you weave to illustrate the points you make.


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