The Indignity Of Country Dancing.

We had Country Dancing at school,

an endurance test for boys

who wanted no part of the pre-pubescent

courtly game

and for the girls,

though I cannot speak with firm authority,

they wanted no part of being involved with

the boys, pre-testosterone, pre hormones,

before manners, before holding hands

was an aspiration, before the scent

of something more by being renowned

for your dancing moves got you the smile

from the girl in the corner

as she shyly sucked on her Panda Pops

lemonade and burped sideways as not to appear

on the verge of abandoned woman hood,

wanting only to touch your hair,

long and feminine as was the fashion,

then you thanked your school teacher,

part Gestapo Rottweiler, part Security guard

for the Pope as he preached abstinence, his image

adorned in a thousand homes next to a picture

from a faded copy of Shoot in which the saviour

wore a bubble perm that drove the ladies wild

and made the boys respect his moves

but not as much as the Dutch man

who took the ball and made it his partner

on the field…

and they called it the beautiful game

the silky moves of avoiding her hand as you

avoided the eye of the barking mad teacher

with her gray scolding glasses

and her eyes that reminded you of Sauron,

and why oh why did you have to hold Paula’s

or Marie’s or Christine’s or Dawn’s or Louise’s

or Emma’s or Pauline’s hands…when secretly

you would have now done anything to have appeared

gallant and a gentleman at such a young age

and take the girl for a dance

on the buffed and polished school hall floor

where assembly was a reason to sing your heart out,

Morning Has Broken, just like your voice would

when all you could think of was how right

Pink Floyd were in the winter of 1979;

Oi teacher leave those kids

to shuffle and pick their nose

and laugh at their mate whose two left feet

has Paula seeing red, dear sweet Paula,

dear sweet Marie, holding my hand

as I pretended to squirm

and would have Simon, Andy, David, Adam,

Paul or Chris laugh their eager young faces off

as I Allemande, Gypsy

and wanted to die at the gate…

Country Dancing, a waste of time

except for the regret of being such a boy,

hating the pomp and ceremony of it all,

what was it meant to achieve in the

days since…

except to remind us of moments

in which teacher could find a way

to embarrass us.


Ian D. Hall 2017