Wounded Dancer

Wounded Dancer
The earth as holy ground

The dancer holds her breath
homo-would-be-wise walks the earth 
boots up and strides the earth
which now lies inert 
the dancer hurt.

In throes of anti-matter we
participate in misery
while fragments of freedom 
emerge from cracked ground

Out of death and dereliction -
anti-death and resurrection
the dancer unbound
as we throw off our platform soles
to tread on sacred ground

Which feeds but is not consumed
burning does not burn
speaking does not denounce
providing does not denude
withers but does not perish -
like rock like grass like air like water
like ideas like love like us, us 
creatures made of stars for Earth, 
planetarians for this planet
world without end amen.
Tessa Ransford
Reproduced by permission of the author.
Tessa Ransford

‘No one has done more for the cause of poetry in Scotland ....' - poetry activist Tessa Ransford was the founder of the Scottish Poetry Library. 

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About Wounded Dancer

This poem was commissioned by Robin Harper, MSP for the Lothians, in 2005. It was part of the second stage of the SPL’s Holyrood Link project, through which poets and MSPs were partnered and explored areas of mutual interest.

Tessa Ransford commented:
It was very interesting working with Robin. I had one whole morning in his department, and also drew on my extensive experience as writing fellow at the Centre for Human Ecology 2001-2004.