This poem begins as a literal description, which can also be taken as metaphor.  The end is meant to include all who participate in the dance of life.


The floor is cold as barefoot
dancers take their stations,
red-ribboned for Pentecost,
the church’s birthday.

Be there! the teacher cried
at each new step.  Her students
stretch to get there.  The need to be
on the right foot, in the right place
pushes them past balance.
Cross front, cross back,
they coil into the grapevine,
a twisting line of ordinary saints.

Light through windows splashes
mottled rainbows round us.
That we are right
where God wants us,
there is no proof.

This poem was first published in Christian Century, May 27, 1992.

Trying too hard to be “right” is something I struggled with for many years.  It so often backfires as we “push past balance.”  Dance has helped me keep, or regain, my balance.  Sacred dance fits in many other traditions besides Christian.  Go to to learn more.