Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, ISADORA DUNCAN DANCING 'IPHIGENIA IN AULIS', by LOUIS UNTERMEYER



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Classic and Contemporary Poetry

ISADORA DUNCAN DANCING 'IPHIGENIA IN AULIS', by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Fling the stones and let them all
Last Line: And the dance is ended.
Alternate Author Name(s): Lewis, Michael
Variant Title(s): Isadora Duncan Dancing
Subject(s): Dancing & Dancers; Duncan, Isadora (1878-1927)


1

FLING the stones and let them all
Lie;
Take a breath, and toss the ball
High—

And before it strikes the floor
Of the hoar and agèd shore,
Sweep them up, though there should be
Even more than two or three.

Add a pebble, then once more
Fling the stones and let them all
Lie;
Take a breath, and toss the ball
High. ...

2

Rises now the sound of ancient chants
And the circling figure moves more slowly.
Thus the stately gods themselves must dance
While the world grows rapturous and holy.
Thus the gods might weave a great Romance
Singing to the sighs of flute and psalter;
Till the last of all the many chants,
And the priestess sinks before the altar.

3

Cease, oh cease the murmured singing;
Hush the numbers brave or blithe,
For she enters gravely swinging,
Lowering and lithe—
Dark and vengeful as the ringing
Scythe meets scythe.

While the flame is fiercely sweeping
All her virgin airs depart;
She is, without smiles and weeping
Or a maiden's art,
Stern and savage as the leaping
Heart meets heart!

4

Now the tune grows frantic,
Now the torches flare—
Wild and corybantic
Echoes fill the air.
With a sudden sally
All the voices shout;
And the bacchic rally
Turns into a rout.

Here is life that surges
Through each burning vein;
Here is joy that purges
Every creeping pain.
Even sober Sadness
Casts aside her pall,
Till with buoyant madness
She must swoon and fall...

CHOPIN

FAINT preludings on a flute
And she swims before us;
Shadows follow in pursuit,
Like a phantom chorus.
Sense and sound are intertwined
Through her necromancy,
Till our dreaming souls are blind
To all things but fancy.
Haunted woods and perfumed nights,
Swift and soft desires,
Roses, violet-colored lights,
And the sound of lyres,
Vague chromatics on a flute—
All are subtly blended,
Till the instrument grows mute
And the dance is ended.





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