Je pratique mes ports de bras
Au port nord de toi
Et même si c’est l’été
J’ne fais pas de grand-jeté
parce que ma jambe fait mal
autant que mon cœur fait mal
parce que c’est impossible pour moi
de ne pas m’ennuyer de toi
Alors pour le moment
Je pratique mes battements
Mes coupés frappés et mes tendus
Aussi souvent que je pense à toi
Je fais mes pliés régulièrement
Pendant qu’je pense à toi et moi
et le jour où on retourne
à être ce qu’on était toujours
une fille et une maman
oui j’rêve toujours de toi et moi
Même si trop d’temps continue d’passer
J’espère toujours pour toi et moi
Written in French, Danse d’Été, is the second of the additional poems I included with Becoming a Poem : 22 for you, and just like dance, French is another cultural link we share. Although I grew up speaking both languages, I’m not as comfortable writing in French as I am in English. Nevertheless, I did write several French poems as part of my self-created daily writing assignments.
Poetry is often difficult to translate no matter what language it’s written in, and I won’t attempt to translate this one right now. However, I do want to emphasize how important dance and fitness was and continues to be for me to maintain a healthy and positive outlook with every day I take on – it’s one of the “habits” I have that helped me get through some of the most dire days.
Luckily, I was able to get in touch with your grandmother prior to finalizing Becoming a Poem and she was kind enough to proofread this poem to remind me of a few accents I had forgotten to insert. Not only is your grandma brilliant in both languages – English and French – but she was also the one who originally introduced me to dance, which eventually led me to teaching fitness classes, which kept that physical activity component well-entrenched in my daily life.
I wrote Danse d’Été during a time when I lived in a homeless shelter. Although I had the benefit of a shower and my own room, space was cramped and limited, so I maintained my regular fitness routine outdoors.
I went on hikes, I’d climb stairs, I’d squat, lunge and stretch wherever I could find an open space – usually close to the ocean. I also continued my bar routine and at times I attempted to choreograph some moves out of the pieces I had written.
It was an early, warm, sunny summer morning when I thought of writing this poem. I had just completed a series of ballet exercises and stretches, and I couldn’t help but think of you as I rested against the metal pier posts and looked directly across the waterway to where you lived.
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