Monday, April 22, 2019
National Poetry Month: The Dancer
Before I contracted paralytic polio, I took ballet classes. From "The Adventures of Runnergirl 1953":
The office was decorated in dark mahogany. Red leather padded the chairs in the waiting room. Miss Holly, the physical therapist came out to greet us. We were brought in to meet Dr. Eugene Moskowitz. His starched white coat was in sharp contrast to his heart overflowing with compassion. He got right to work and assessed my functioning while measuring me for a leg brace. I mentally checked out and wondered if I would ever be able to return to ballet class. I allowed him to do whatever he needed to do to get my body to work.
Miss Patricia was a tall graceful woman who wore pink tights, a pink tutu and pink toe shoes. She wore a light perfume that reminded me of fragrant flowers in Spring. The mirrored room with ballet barres and polished wooden floor was my sanctuary away from my cold rejecting mother. Before class I carried my shiny patent leather Capezio tote that held my leotard, tights and black ballet shoes. My friends and I gathered in the anteroom with cubbies and giggled as we transformed into ballerinas. We eagerly ran into the classroom lining up with straight backs prepared to practice…
I never did make it back to ballet class with Miss Patricia or any ballet class but as I began to recover from the effects of polio and trauma, after the diagnosis of Post-Polio Syndrome, one of my goals was to dance again and to feel free in my body. But first, I imagined myself transformed from the ravages of paralytic polio and trauma to being a dancer!
From 'Feel the Heal: An Anthology of Poems to Heal Your Life':
Learning to Dance
It’s never too late
you’re never too old
to learn to dance
paralyzed from polio
paralyzed with fear
frozen in time
awkward and unsure
shame and confusion
I fell into the trap of ego
my leg snared in the jaws of agony and defeat
saved by grace
my rescuer nursed my wounds
stiff and clumsy
fueled by thoughts of days gone by
the match is lit
no match for darkness
the music of my heart’s desire
moved me to try once again
step by step
the dance of my life
the way I was always meant to dance
yes wrinkles mark the passage of time
I burn brightly
until my dance is done.
Crumpled cringing alone in darkness portrait of paralyzed child
heap of limbs loss of control panic fear run rampant and wild.
Enter stage right he gathers her gentle tears honor old embrace new
beautiful ballerina transformed music swells the pas de deux.
Dancing with Spirit she celebrates lost in moment of time and space
winged feet now poetry in motion joyful light ease and grace.
Daring she enters spotlight center stage a vision to behold
vulnerable yet confident - courageous strikingly bold.
On point to an audience she no longer plays,
soul’s rhythm tempo she keeps
magic memories made in each moment
delighting grateful heart leaps.
Her life she now knows has no bounds
choreography her dancing decree
revelations unveiled with each movement
unencumbered expansive now free.
Since partnering with Lizzie Sobel, DC in weekly chiropractic treatments, I have retrieved and revived muscle memory from when I was a ballerina! Despite all that I've lived through, and despite being 65 years old, I experience a sense of grace and freedom in my body as I move throughout my day.
It's never too late and you're never too old to experience freedom and joy in your body and to be the dancer in the spotlight of your life!
From my heart to yours
In Health and Wellness,
Be sure to visit my website at www.marymcmanus.com
Hear my interview with Kendra Petrone on Magic 106.7's Exceptional Women Show by following this link
My books are available on Amazon and at Paper Fiesta in Natick on Mile 10 of the Boston Marathon route.