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Dorothy Dances

This is no child that dances. This is flame.
Here fire at last has found its natural frame.

What else is that which burns and flies
From those enkindled eyes…
What is that inner blaze
Which plays
About that lighted face…
This thing is fire set free —
Fire possesses her, or rather she
Controls its mastery.
With every gesture, every rhythmic stride,
Beat after beat,
It follows, purring at her side,
Or licks the shadows of her flashing feet.
Around her everywhere
It coils its thread of yellow hair;
Through every vein its bright blood creeps,
And its red hands
Caress her as she stands
Or lift her boldly when she leaps.
Then, as the surge of radiance grows stronger
These two are two no longer
And they merge
Into a disembodied ecstasy;
To express some half-forgotten hunger,
Some half-forbidden urge.

What mystery

Has been at work until it blent
One child and that fierce element?
Give it no name.
It is enough that flesh has danced with flame.

Louis Untermeyer


Reflections on this poem

When have you felt an deep inner longing for a creative activity?

What sets your soul ablaze?

How have you felt embraced by something or someone beyond you?

How are you “dancing” with the Holy flame?


Miriam Leading the Women in Celebration

This quilted icon depicts Miriam, the sister of Moses and Aaron, leading the women in celebration after crossing the Red Sea. Since women were usually marginalized in that culture, it is unusual for a woman to be named a prophetess and even more unusual to lead anything!

“Then Miriam, the prophetess, the sister of Aaron, took a timbrel in her hand; and all the women went out after her with timbrels and dancing. And Miriam sang to them: ‘Sing to the Lord, for he has triumphed gloriously…'” Exodus 15:20-21

I call this hearty group the Red Sea Band!

I chose to name the women after my favorite women in scripture and give them more modern instruments. So from the top clockwise are Miriam, with the necessary casseroles, Tamar on tamborine, Lydia on electric guitar, Mary Magdalene on drums, and Hannah on Native American flute.

Janet O. Hagberg, 2013. All rights reserved.

Reflection on this icon:

What most attracts you to this icon?

Which woman do you most identify with and why?

How has God triumphed in your life?

What makes you want to dance and sing?

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