Carolyn Raphael

Dancing with Bare Feet
The Most Beautiful Room in the World
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POEMS

"Sprezzatura"
Dancing with Bare Feet, White Violet Press, 2016

“to practise in all things a certain nonchalance which conceals
all artistry and makes whatever one says or does seem
uncontrived and effortless.”

-Baldesar Castiglione. The Book of the Courtier

DiMaggio had it, so did Fred Astaire—
the dazzle of a sweet swing, the appealing
insouciance of a dancer on the ceiling—
the absent strain, the unassuming flair.

Since what we saw seemed natural as air,
the artistry that disallows revealing
bewitched us as we reveled in the feeling
that we could do it too, if we were there.

But elegance has shriveled into cool:
the fashion model pouting into space,
disdainful glances from the clique at school.

And accolades for apathy erase
the reverence for skill that was the rule,
while we sweep up the vestiges of grace.

Finalist, Howard Nemerov Sonnet Contest
Published in Measure, Vol. IV, Issue 1, Winter 2009
Dancing with Bare Feet, White Violet Press, 2016

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