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Ceremony of Innocence: a poem about a binary by Catharine Wright - The Feminist Wire

Ceremony of Innocence: a poem about a binary by Catharine Wright

Ceremony of Innocence: a poem about a binary

 

(the title and other lines in this poem respond to William Butler Yeats’ poem, “The Second Coming” http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems-and-poets/poems/detail/43290)

 

 

The ballerina’s arms lift Up

calf-muscle bulges Up

comma arch of her foot–

 

while Down, the cowboy boots strike stones,

chops growl in memory.

 

………..Turning and turning in the gyre

………..they dance

………..a two-step

………..two white warriors

………..conquering gravity and the frontier.

 

She hails from Russia, Paris, “the continent,”

while he is all-American

he is    a real American.

 

………..Turning and turning they dance

………..in our blood

………..we white beasts

 

………..we gravity-defying population

………..heirs to a continental America

………..con      tinent  al breakfast

………..K cups and cartons of pure milk.

 

He hails from the continent

she is all-American.

 

………..Turning and turning

………..we white beasts dance

………..the two-step, we are two

………..we are not one we are the American continent on which we stand

………..we salute our health

………..our census tells us so.

 

Against the border we stand

Up to our neighbors

our chaps growl against the fence.

Against the border

our foot          a mere comma on which we stand.

 

We are two and we remember       the continent

we are two and not multi/ not multi we remember

the frontier in chaps growling at the fence.

 

In a two-step

our boots strike stones beside the fence/on the frontier

in boots–strike stones along the fence where we stand.

 

………..We are two and not afraid

………..not three strikes

………..two commas, two boots

………..and two organs behind the two-step.

 

………..We stand tall beside the fence

………..in our boots

………..that strike stones      tall

………..in sets of two and three

………..boots on feet shaped like commas that hang

………..in the air when we speak.

 

We are two and never three in our organs

turning in the step of our heels against the fence

we are one against the fence

one comma,    one comma,    one comma in a waltz.

 

We are cast into the frontier

in the gyre of our boots

in ones and threes

………..turning steps into stones

………..holding stones in our hands

………..holding hands with our words.

 

We are not two or one or three

against the fence. Not

in our chaps standing tall in our boots,

not from the continent alone

 

 

on the frontier           alone

………..not alone, nor one

………..not we are not, not turning in the gyre

………..we are being turned.

 

We are

being in the gyre,

not a comma or a boot

we are in combat with

our selves

………..sifting through stones

 

we’re remembering the beast

who remembers the beast?

 

you must remember the beast

its hour come round at last.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Catharine_Wright_Wright-catharine2Catharine Wright teaches critical and creative writing and gender studies at Middlebury College where she currently directs the Writing Program. Traditionally her publications have been in fiction and nonfiction, including short stories in Phoebe, Negative Capability, Hurricane Alice, Children, Churches and Daddies, and other literary magazines. She has also co-authored two books, Vermonters At Their Craft (New England Press) and Social Justice Education (Stylus Press). Lately she is working on a novel and trying her hand at poems. After years of raising three children in a nontraditional blended family and encouraging her students to write their feminist voices it is exciting to return more earnestly to writing herself.