In March Time
[ Issue 24 ]

In March Time brings Emily Bronto much happiness

Bikwil is pleased to present In March Time

In March Time

In Bet Briggs' poem In March Time the poet reflects on peak-hour madness.

The place for this dance performance is Sydney's Broadway, near the University.
 

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In March Time ó Bet Briggs

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Early that morning, first
of autumn, grey with rain,
just a walk away from work,
without warning I was cast
in a crazy peak-hour show
at Broadway:
a chorus line
of cars panted at the crossing,
wipers tossing rain from screens
like dancers dashing sweat from eyes
and faces when they pause;
while the line fretted for the green,
a rival corps de ballet,
kerbside players kerbed too long,
as fretfully began to scamper
from sodden wings to centre stage,
there to shuffle, strut and stomp,
all together in foul weather,
converge and cross,
up-tempo and up-temper
in the steady rain.
In this
frenzied dance of hours
with others, I was the novice
unrehearsed, out of step and class;
compelled by a different drumming,
my stride inelegant and rough
I madly improvised escape
to the green roominess
of Victoria Park,
off-stage
just in time to see, on cue
the chorus line brake off
into its routine:
up front,
sleek new model hi-tech
superstars anticipating green
and a clear way leapt ahead
of middle-of-the-road performers
patient and obedient to every cue,
and last, the oldest players,
veterans of too many shows,
grown sluggish, idling too long
were caught again on red,
once more to form a chorus line
to fret and pant at Broadway.

Like Miss Christieís Mousetrap
The Peak-Hour Show plays on and on:
repeat performances by no command
I know: the showís already cloned,
endless rounds of action replays
on all the Broadways of the world.
Itís not the lack of chorus master
I deplore ó Iíd rather be my own ó
something fundamental is amiss
and missing: thereís no joy, no sense
of celebration, this global dancethonís
an ancient rite gone wrong,
St. Vitus must be turning,
turning in his grave.
As for this
misfit missing mainstreamís
beat, the dancer in the wrong routine,
out of step with the pulse of urban
life, the rhythm of the times,
Iíll leave the fast lane, centre stage
to upbeat, high-speed trippers.

I prefer an old soft shoe,
andante moderato
,
shuffling to the natural rhythm,
the easy rhythm thatís my own,
with a partner if thereís one
or solo in the rain and sun,
in step with the tempo of the universe,
the well-tempered music of the spheres.

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