Since poetry up and left town
I’ve tried replacing poems with novels,
but find they take so interminably long
to the point: sixty thousand words
to reveal how some of the things people do
cannot be put right,
eighty thousand more
to convey, in flamboyant, literary technicolour,
the protagonist’s agony at this realisation.
Instructions for the dance
(selected from The Handbook of Modern Dancing, 1968)
Commence with confidence,
your feet neatly together.
This diagram shows
the direction of your steps.
Practice the positions of the feet
and avoid taking a death grip.
Breathe. This is not difficult,
you will be able to adapt.
Listen to the tempo of the music.
Don’t always blame your partner,
it may be your fault; perhaps
you are not stepping back far enough?
Think of the military band.
Your feet want to go left, right,
left, right. Tap your foot. Smile.
Remember, dancing is fun.
There is no definite rule
but keeping your balance
is generally worth the trouble.
It is never too late to begin.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Claire Orchard’s poetry has appeared in Landfall, Mayhem, Sport, Sweet Mammalian, Verge, The Rialto, The Interpreter’s House, Atlanta Review and Best New Zealand Poems. Her most recent collection of poetry, Liveability, was published by THWUP in July 2023.