Sunday, 22 September 2013

A sonnet by the Dutch poet
Martinus Nijhoff

 

The Dancer


Beneath my skin a captive beast is fenced
That thrashes and would bite a pathway free;
Its dark blood throbs, and muscles highly tensed
Tremble in such confined extremity.

Until its pain like heat flows through my veins
And forces gestures out whose tempered haste
And maintained elegance screw up its pace
Still more before it hurls aside its chains.

One must be powdered so that in one’s face
The black of open-scorching eyes alone
Betrays the madness of the inner beast.

The mouth, upturned and reddened, must display
A pride so godlike everyone should know
Its broad smile is now totally released.

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