Poem of the Week, by Gregory Orr

My poems podcast, Words by Wintercan be found here.

I’m no dancer but I love to dance anyway. So many memories of dancing. A ballet studio on the second floor of a frame house: First position. Second position. Plie. Arabesque. Releve. The Alibi: a bar in Vermont, my best friend and I waiting in the entryway every weekend until the cover dropped to half price. The tiny dance floor where every song, in my memory, is by the Police.

A swing dance party in Maine: me a newbie unable to follow the tight rhythms until a dark-eyed man curled my fingers around the tips of his: Resist me. Follow me, and at the same time resist me. A friend’s wedding: rainy night under a big tent. Boards laid across mud. The band strikes up and a laughing man holds out his hand: Come on, Alison, let’s go. Mud-soaked red shoes: one heel broken by the end of the night.

It’s been a while since things didn’t feel so messed up, politics and the planet melting down and movements bad and good rising up simultaneously, a future in which so much feels so uncertain. Been a while since I danced things out late at night in the living room, or thought of this poem.

To Be Alive, by Gregory Orr

To be alive: not just the carcass
but the spark.
That’s crudely put, but. . . 

If we’re not supposed to dance,
why all this music?

For more information about Gregory Orr, please check out his website


  1. Barb McCleary · January 30, 2021

    My own personal recipe for Coronavirus survival has been solo dance parties in my kitchen.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. alisonmcghee · January 30, 2021

    Oh, I so relate! Late night in my living room, a cocktail, lights off so the neighbors can’t spy. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. William Boden · February 2, 2021

    Love this poem.

    Liked by 1 person

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