CLANG . . . CLANG . . . *CLANG*. . . .

The Master of the Dance

A chant to which it is intended a group of children

shall dance and improvise pantomime led by their dancing-teacher.

I

A master deep-eyed

Ere his manhood was ripe,

He sang like a thrush,

He could play any pipe.

So dull in the school

That he scarcely could spell,

He read but a bit,

And he figured not well.

A bare-footed fool,

Shod only with grace;

Long hair streaming down

Round a wind-hardened face;

He smiled like a girl,

Or like clear winter skies,

A virginal light

Making stars of his eyes.

In swiftness and poise,

A proud child of the deer,

A white fawn he was,

Yet a fawn without fear.

No youth thought him vain,

Or made mock of his hair,

Or laughed when his ways

Were most curiously fair.

A mastiff at fight,

He could strike to the earth

The envious one

Who would challenge his worth.

However we bowed

To the schoolmaster mild,

Our spirits went out

To the fawn-footed child.

His beckoning led

Our troop to the brush.

We found nothing there

But a wind and a hush.

He sat by a stone

And he looked on the ground,

As if in the weeds

There was something profound.

His pipe seemed to neigh,

Then to bleat like a sheep,

Then sound like a stream

Or a waterfall deep.

It whispered strange tales,

Human words it spoke not.

Told fair things to come,

And our marvellous lot

If now with fawn-steps

Unshod we advanced

To the midst of the grove

And in reverence danced.

We obeyed as he piped

Soft grass to young feet,

Was a medicine mighty,

A remedy meet.

Our thin blood awoke,

It grew dizzy and wild,

Though scarcely a word

Moved the lips of a child.

Our dance gave allegiance,

It set us apart,

We tripped a strange measure,

Uplifted of heart.

II

We thought to be proud

Of our fawn everywhere.

We could hardly see how

Simple books were a care.

No rule of the school

This strange student could tame.

He was banished one day,

While we quivered with shame.

He piped back our love

On a moon-silvered night,

Enticed us once more

To the place of delight.

A greeting he sang

And it made our blood beat,

It tramped upon custom

And mocked at defeat.

He builded a fire

And we tripped in a ring,

The embers our books

And the fawn our good king.

And now we approached

All the mysteries rare

That shadowed his eyelids

And blew through his hair.

That spell now was peace

The deep strength of the trees,

The children of nature

We clambered her knees.

Our breath and our moods

Were in tune with her own,

Tremendous her presence,

Eternal her throne.

The ostracized child

Our white foreheads kissed,

Our bodies and souls

Became lighter than mist.

Sweet dresses like snow

Our small lady-loves wore,

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