Saturday, July 15, 2006

Square dance for D

Square dance for D
Originally uploaded by FranSb.
D is for dancing the night away
A square to share
and a prize to win
before dawn

A Different Dance

The Gypsy Tree

They have returned!
The slow creaking meadow ruts,
and careful pitted fire –
a gleaning of discarded branches –
ahh –
like a comb through raven hair
I am cleansed!

Laughing children in my arms –
weary comfort from the sun;
and I wait …

Shadowed moonlight needs no lanterns –
barefoot prancing,
swirling maidens,
ribald stories – finger pointing –
yes they will come.

Glowing embers – banked for dawning,
a couple yearning –
two as one.
Between my gnarled roots,
against my ancient bosom,
they sway to my heartbeat –
and I can dance again.

Friday, July 14, 2006

At The Edges of Firelight

There were several bonfires already brightly lighting the Gypsy Encampment when I arrived. I was wearing my favourite green figured silk skirt and matching lightweight sweater, I had many bracelets on each wrist, and my 9 sets of ear piercings were all filled with musically clinking earrings. My Cat-panions had chosen to remain in our warm bed at the Abbey, preferring to not meet playing children, dancing adults and dogs running freely through the camp.

My tent was ready for me, the floor was full of pads and patched quilts, and pillows in embroidered cases. My feet were bare, the toes wriggling joyously in the grass, I had jingling ankle bracelets and a belt of glinting chains wrapped loosely around my waist. My medicine bag was around my neck, I could feel the shapes beneath the green velvet when it bumped on my collarbone.

I settled happily in my tent and began to smudge myself and my acourterments with White GrandMother Sage, I also lit sandalwood incense to drive away the musties in my tent's fabric. I heard the violins, guitars, drums, and zithers awakening around the central fire; I finished the purification ritual, and took a few quick puffs from my peace pipe before Marya poked her smiling face in the tent's doorway.

"Come, we wish you to join the dance earlier this time. Yes, yes, I know you don't like to be seen dancing. Gyorgy thinks you are beautiful when you free yourself to the dance." Marya chattered non-stop as she dragged me to the crowd gathering around the main fire.

Already the instruments were in tune and in harmony, and I could hear the familiar, unforgettable music of Romany spoken by true Rom. Marya pulled me into a thicket of laughing, joking Rom ladies. It was perfect timing, for the first song cried into the night, graceful and languid as an Old-World Vampyr haunting the foggy streets of London.

It wasn't long until the movements began to coalesce into one sway around the campfire, for every dancer was still moving slowly. The wild twirls and leaps, and fearless acrobatics would come after the smaller children were tucked into their beds.

For now the dances were such that the young ones could run through the groups of dancers, without disturbing the dance or hurting themselves. One of the younger girls begged to be a part of the dance, she was twirled to the center and the headman shared a gentle gavotte with his great-great grandaughter.

Gyorgy danced into view and grinned down at me. "So!! At last you return to us!! Did you think we would not miss you?" His scolding was accompanied by a gentle kiss on my cheek.

"I am sure you missed me as badly as I missed all of you. You know as well as I that GrandMother claims I am a Lone Wolf cub, hunting in solitary ways. Where the pack would go right, I would choose the left."

"I know there are other reasons for you staying away too long, am I to blame?" Gyorgy's eyes were solemn, and his voice low.

"Please, Gyorgy, I don't belong here, as you well know. Were I to stay I would cause such sorrow and frustration for all of us. Let us be friends, and share a dance and a drink together when a party is afoot."

"All right, but only because you make your sad kitten eyes when you say things like that." Gyorgy winked and spun me back into the most animated group of dancers, where he coached me through the dance's steps.

It wasn't long at all and the young ones were settled into their beds, falling asleep in the midst of protests. The fires had burned lower, and several empty bottles of liquors and liquers in their snug little bin clinked soft comment about the dancers.

The musicians had taken a breather while the children were bedded down for the night. In the shifting light and motion I slipped away from the throng and claimed my Shaman Walking Stick. I walked over by the stream and described my Circle in the sand, room enough for me to dance freely.

I had cleared my mind, and calmed my spirit before the music started. There in the near darkness, ringed about by groaning and creaking trees I danced in my Circle. No longer a part of the pack, I followed the voice of my spirit where it led me.

By the time the third song was begun I had relaxed and begun dancing as if I were in my rooom, in the dark, the headphones blotting the world out. I whirled and stomped, clapped and shimmied my hips; the pattern of it growing closer, faster and more complex.

I was dancing with my all, feeling the power growing and seeming to choke me. When I could feel myself shaking helplessly yet exultant I focussed my entire being on directing the energy. I willed the power of the Seasons and The Four Natural Elements to my wishes.

All I could hear by now was howls of a winter wind, the hiss of the sea as it crawls up the sand, rough crunchings of gravel underfoot, and the snapping voice of the fire. My breath stopped for a moment and still I didn't slow. I could feel the energy built to frightening proportions, and yet I did not let go.

At last I stopped, slamming the butt of my staff hard on the ground. Trembling, breathless, voiceless, I throw my head back in a silent howl to the Heavens.

The released energy spread out from me, like ripples from a stone dropped in a still pond. It obscured sight of the material world, and all I could see were the stars, tethered in their complex, three dimensional web of gravity bonds. I felt all of the energy drain from me, sent to give my families of blood and spirit what they needed most.

I barely remember collapsing to the sand, doubled over and struggling to breathe, the stars began to swirl together and fade away. Light returned to me as Gyorgy was settling me in my tent.

"You!! You blithely perform a magic that Great-Grandmother is afraid to try and still you say you do not belong. How can you live in the Gadje world??"

"The Gadje world is my world. I am where I need to be. The Rom don't need to learn what I am here to teach, the Gadje do."

As often happens to me, I am accepted by both groups and respected, a part of both and neither. I am of the same wildish spirit as the Rom, yet I am born of the Gadje. Like the Penguin I am nicknamed after, I am neither fish nor fowl.

"You should rest now. No more dancing!! I will have Marya bring you a drink, and something to eat. You!! Do nothing other than rest there." Gyorgy glowered at me, and I summoned the energy to blow him a faint raspberry. He grinned and moved to one side of the tent when Marya arrived with a mug of tea, I could taste chamomile, honey, mint, and lemon peel.

I sipped on the drink, and misbehaved the whole time Gyorgy and Marya fussed over me. I was yawning and sinking deeply into the cushions and quilts as Marya, and then Gyorgy exited my tent. The flaps were gently lowered, and then I heard the sound of someone large (Gyorgy) settling in to guard all night.

Wizard Waltz


I am not the caress of the Mistress;
but by right I am –
nor am I the Lord of the Dance,
though by right I am –
and I do not conduct the orchestra;
though by right I can –
for there is nothing that is not of me;
though this is also true of thee.

What then can we do – nay I,
for you must also choose …

I offer an invitation to the dance,
for to know life
one must live life;
which somehow involves ever you –

Forget the close ordered steps
proscribed by another’s will –
Throw off the shackles of music
described as good and bad,
and listen to the EverSong
with open heart and hand.

I can neither dance well or long
with pain my closest friend,
but I can embrace the dance of life,
but in need of a partner of chance.

I can waltz with a child standing
on my scuffed ‘n aging shoes
long after the melody has ended.

I can smile at an aging crone,
reaching out to the girl within,
and treasure her shy wink of knowing.

I can lift a girl from a wheelchair
and glide between the stars
to the rhythm of quick throbbing hearts --

or I can dance in the tree-bound moonlight
with all of you now at once,
just by choosing silent awe and wonder …

for we can always dance …
dance …

once more,


Retro Full Moon Dance

courtesy 50's Retro Dance Clip Art Site
image copyright Imogen Crest 2006.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Waltzing Under The Moon

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"Lost love is still love. It takes a different form that's all. You can't see their smile or bring them food or tousle their hair or move them around a dance floor. But when those senses weaken another heightens. Memory. Memory becomes your partner. You nurture it. You hold it. You dance with it. ....Life has to end....Love doesn't." Mitch Ablom

"She well knew the sounds. They were those of heavy carts or waggons, their wheels groaning and lurching along the uneven ruts of the lane, and with them came, from time to time, the crack of a whip, and men's voices urging and encouraging the horses. The barking of a dog too, and fainter shriller tones, women's and children's, laughing and chattering as they came slowly along.
"Sybil lost no time. She hurried to the steppingstones, crossing them without hesitation, for the water was low and they were almost dry; then she pushed her way through the greenery to the place by the bank, which she used as her look-out.

" 'It may be only farm waggons or the big brewer's dray, which comes along the lane as far as the keeper's cottage,' she thought. 'But I'm almost certain by the sounds that it's gipsies. How glad I am that I came down here!'" - from The Ruby Ring, by Mrs. Molesworth, MacMillan and Co. Ltd, London, 1908.

Like young Sybil in this beloved old novel, how glad I am I came down here! The fire blazes and lights our eager faces as we gather round and share the warmth of this moment. I gather my skirts, kick off my shoes, and get ready to dance! Fiddler, strike up a tune!

I'm Comin' Up So You Better Get This Party Started....

"..... Makin my connection as I enter the room
Everybody's chillin as I set up the groove
Pumpin' up the volume with this brand new beat
Everybody's dancin and their dancin for me
I'm comin' up so you better get this party started....."

Join Heather and Darryl

He may not wish to dance with me,
but I can hold hat and coat
and watch you two do the ...


I put my left foot in,
I take my left wing out.
Take my hidden halo,
And spin it all about.
Gonna' let my heart shine
And dance in ever Light.
That's what it's all about. Yeah

Let's do the Hooky Spooky
And hope it works out right.
I cannot fly, so I stumble
Cause being human is out of sight.

I'll put my right wing in
Take my 'right' foot out.
Ease my churning mind-throb
'cause I know a finer Light.
It's supposed to be a blessed life
So I'll spread my love around.
That's what it's all about! Hey!

Time, you old gypsy man...

Deeply moved by the courageous love Heather and Darryl share, Lavengro read us this beautiful poem by Ralph Hodgson as we grouped round the camp fire to offer our prayers and support.

TIME, you old gipsy man,
Will you not stay,
Put up your caravan
Just for one day?

All things I'll give you
Will you be my guest,
Bells for your jennet
Of silver the best.

Goldsmiths shall beat you
A great golden ring,
Peacocks shall bow to you,
Little boys sing.

Oh, and sweet girls will
Festoon you with may,
Time, you old gipsy,
Why hasten away?

Last week in Babylon,
Last night in Rome,
Morning, and in the crush
Under Paul's dome;

Under Pauls' dial
You tighten your rein --
Only a moment,
And off once again;

Off to some city
Now blind in the womb,
Off to another
Ere that's in the tomb.

Time, you old gipsy man,
Will you not stay,
Put up your caravan
Just for one day?

Sakin'el Bleeds!

I post this here because it deals with fire --
and many may gather for the dance.


The other evening a friend sitting on our porch lit a large candle to support their chain smoking. It burned through the night, unnoticed, until it bled down the wall and scorched the railing. My fault, of course, for not having placed a dish under the decorative candle. Yet ...

I wonder a bit at the actions:

Is it proper to light a candle in another person's home without asking?

If you do light a candle, are you perhaps responsible for it -- at least to tell someone of the event?

Should not smokers have a special responsibility for cleaning up their mess and caring for the effects of their habit?

Do I address the issue with the person, or just let it slide?

Do I fix the railing, or leave it as a warning to others?

Do I acknowledge that all smokers are irresponsible and bar them to the street?

Perhaps one of you has an answer ...


Monday, July 10, 2006


Now travellers one and all
Take note of that "Little Gypsy Caravan"
Not just any caravan but a magic one
It did not always belong to the Gypsies
Once it belonged to the Muse of the Sea
Notice how quaint,small and bright it is
Well that's what it was for just me

I bought it in 1998 from a fellow in the hills
Small enough to tow behind a car
Not too heavy to manouver backing it into a parking spot in a park
Lots of windows to let in the light,and the fresh air
A small stove and bed for just me and Jessie Dog.
It was coloured cream with brown trim
I called it "Faraway" the little one

Jessie dog and I went on many holidays
To the sea,to the hills,to festivals,to country towns
camping on the river in caravan parks
No dogs allowed in National Parks
but that's ok one understands to make allowances for one's companion

I travlled far and near
Such an experience as I had never towed before not even a little van
But did it it sure did ....
In about 2002 it was time to say goodbye to the little caravan
Age catches up with one and cuts short some adventures
So it was time to call it a day and take different holidays
But how could I do this.....I had never had holidays other than camping ones

But do it I must.
Now comes the mythical part of the story
I spoke to Madame Muse about giving the caravan to the Gypsies
She like me thought it a great idea
So it was sent to a carriage restorer who was to put
two long rods one each side fitted to the caravan so the horses could pull it
for the gypsies.

Now this little van was just the right size
as Gypsies are not large people you know.
And so it was that they received the caravan
and had a big party to celebrate
and of course we hear from them often and they are
always telling us how grateful and delighted they
are WITH their new little home
Which they have painted red and orange
And so am I to think that others can enjoy..

Lois(Muse of the Sea) 11.7.06
a litle piece of heaven

But strong enough not to blow away on a windy day

Universe Dances With Heather

copyright Monika Roleff 2006.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Dancing with Archetypes

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Still dancing!