Instant poem about older women dancing

Cartoon of four older women dancing in mediaeval costume. One has her legs back to front.
Older women dancing Carmina Burana. Someone is out of step. I wonder who?

The dancing body

I am a wrinkled apple
with an equator tied around
what used to be a waist.

Yet I am allowed to dance,
my darlings.
Turn away if you must.

My upper half is crumpled
but it works. Watch it stretch
and bend and flick and flow—
watch it go!

Down in the Southern Hemisphere
a committee intermittent
struggles to keep control.

A single pain commutes
from knee to arch of foot
to hip.

Warnings from the North Pole
travel slow in Morse code
and get diverted on the way.

The Southern body will not
bend or flip. It's all locked in
like old Gondwanaland.

It's not quite anarchy
here in the dancing body
more a quiet disagreement
with the plan.

~Rachel McAlpine 2021~

Older women dancing

Our dance group, the Crows Feet, has just finished a happy season of our 2021 show, Carmina Burana.

Crows Feet shows are an acquired taste. We have our admirers 🙂 Audiences do not come to critique our style or to bask in our glorious perfection. They come to share the joy of watching older women dancing—women of all shapes and sizes dancing our hearts out in a cleverly devised original show. Some of us (not me) are talented dancers. The rest of us do our best and as a collective, we have our magic moments. This year, music, mediaeval costumes, slides of mediaeval art and some showy lighting boosted a full-on energetic Breughelish event. Hits this year included tavern scenes and a final dance that quietly referenced the black plague—and thus Covid.

The only criteria for belonging are that you are over 35. you want to dance, and you will commit to attending weekly rehearsals. Ours are not classes that you dip in and out of like Pilates or Zumba, but rehearsals for a new show every year. However, no training or experience or audition is required. That’s why I’m allowed to be one of the group. And at 81, I am inevitably no longer at my best.

Today’s instant poem lays out the situation of an aging body that’s still dancing.

I hope I’ll find a way of dancing even when I’m in a hospice or a hospital bed. One part of my body will surely still be working almost to the end. Maybe I will dance with my thumbs … or my intestines.

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39 thoughts on “Instant poem about older women dancing

  1. josaiawrites says:

    Dancing expresses our ageless spirit and soul… to those who have the vision and wisdom to see it. I love your post…. Keep dancing, please, so I can hear your music and feel your essence…. And remember to dance myself.

    1. Rachel McAlpine says:

      Yes, don’t stop dancing, Josaia!

  2. Beth A Rubin says:

    I am rarely moved to comment and this time for two reasons. Your poem rocked me. I have complained that in my mid sixties I no longer get to dance. Thank you much for pointing out the error of my ways!

    1. Rachel McAlpine says:

      Oh Beth, that was worth breaking your no-commenting/ no-dancing rules!

  3. Mick Canning says:

    I love both the poem and the attitude!

  4. This is high-quality poetry!

    1. Rachel McAlpine says:

      Though the high kicks may not be quite so high…

  5. Anonymous says:


    1. Rachel McAlpine says:

      Glad it hits the spot(light)

  6. Anonymous is

    1. Rachel McAlpine says:

      You cannot disguise your handwriting, Derrick

  7. Dancing, prancing, flailing arms
    Creaking joints and sweating palms
    Fallen arches, corns and gout
    I love to dance, it gets me out!

    1. Rachel McAlpine says:

      Anything that triggers a Peter poem is worth posting

  8. I enjoyed your poem. When I’m approaching the end of life, my hair will dance. Right now it flies away.

    1. Rachel McAlpine says:

      It’s rehearsing!

  9. Cathy Cade says:

    It’s the only exercise I enjoy. Bring on the music!

    1. Rachel McAlpine says:

      Almost any music can do the trick 🙂

  10. alison41 says:


  11. Rachel Doré says:

    Crows Feet Dance Collective’s interpretation of Carmina Burana last Sunday was inspiring. Why haven’t I been dancing?

    1. Rachel McAlpine says:

      You were there! So glad and sorry the covid rules meant audience and performers couldn’t mingle

  12. Elizabeth says:

    I long to return to the community folk dancing. It was there that I first understood that it is an all ages form from just walking kids to just walking elders.

    1. Rachel McAlpine says:

      That’s for sure. I hope you can join again soon. Meantime… Wiggle wiggle wiggle!

      1. Elizabeth says:

        I did try my grandson’s hula hoop recently. Despite now having hips, unlike my child self, I couldn’t keep the thing up!

      2. Rachel McAlpine says:

        Practice makes perfect, then and now. I hope that’s not a lie.

      3. Elizabeth says:

        I am afraid to try to perfect my hula hoop maneuvers, preferring to spare my lower back.

      4. Rachel McAlpine says:

        Very wise, of course. Take care.

  13. srbottch says:

    Pardon my ignorance or bad manners, but is the ‘Southern Hemisphere’ in you poem what I think it is. Loved the poem.

    1. Rachel McAlpine says:

      The bottom half of me, from heels to hips. A metaphor:)

  14. I got “a kick” out of this one, Rachel!

    1. Rachel McAlpine says:

      Ha ha!

  15. haoyando says:

    How enjoyable. What a wonderful image.

  16. sunny says:

    Loved the poem and your comments on Carmina Burana. Really, Rach., at 93 I am not up to it, but love watching Crows Feet dancers, their enthusiasm and great presentations

  17. This is so Much fun I love it
    Holly Jolly Laughter

  18. Great poem! I loved it 🙂

    1. Rachel McAlpine says:

      Thank you, Quaranjavirus

  19. Quite charming and humorous. Imma follow you straight away for more of ya poetry.

  20. Evelyn J. Willburn (Right as Rain Online) says:

    Thanks for these uplifting thoughts! You’ve inspired me to continue putting my own drawings into my blog. Best wishes.

    1. Rachel McAlpine says:

      Excellent outcome! (There, I have been useful.)

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