{pf: poetry peeps dansa the day away}

Greetings! Welcome to another Poetry Peeps adventure on Poetry Friday!

Poetry Peeps! You’re invited to our challenge in the month of November! Here’s the scoop: we’re creating recipe poems! Your choice of form, length, topic, or meter, but each poem will be an assemblage of elements, using recipe text/cooking instructions to create …something. From a recipe for disaster, to your favorite aperitif, you have a month to craft your creation and Serve It Forth on November 25th in a post and/or on social media with the tag #PoetryPals.

This was my first time ever hearing about an Occitan Dansa, or the Balete (Old French), or the Ballata (Italian), as it was known in the Middle Ages. The dansa was the basic structure of poetry which troubadours set to lively music for dancing and singing, and was first introduced to modern audiences in THE SHAPES OF OUR SINGING by Robin Skelton in 2001. I always enjoy hearing a bit more about a new form during our In-Person chat, and reflected on what Tricia’s research deep dive had revealed, mainly how a dansa was meant to be a joyful dance. Unfortunately, the first several poems I was able to pull out using the rhyme and repeated refrain structure were all… pretty sharp. Not really dance-y topics, social lies and a lament on a multiplicity of possessions. (Those are possibly even weird topics for non-dance-y poems, but that’s where I live, in the intersection of Weird and Obviously Going There.) Desdansa, we learned, is the name of the non-joyful poems, but they’re meant to be sad and depressing – the sorts of tales of battlefields and lost kingdoms meant to elicit tears! Not what I wanted to write either. So, I kept scribbling…

During my many attempts at making something fun and dance-y, the rules imprinted themselves on my subconscious. It was freezing Monday morning, and I as I watched my husband bouncing as he looked for his flannel-lined wool cardigan, I teased, “Is shivering your new dance?” The next thing I knew, I was muttering:

Is shivering a dance?
As hairs on my arms stand
Tightening every strand
I look at them askance.
What caused this happenstance?
Is shivering a dance?

Occasionally, this poetry thing is contagious.

Quite a few of us have caught dansa fever – Laura’s post is here. Mary Lee’s is here. Sara’s is here. Liz’s poem is here. Tricia’s is here. Michelle K’s dansa-ing today, as is Carol V. Margaret’s dansa is here. Even more Peeps will sashay on through during the course of the dansa-line, so stay tuned for the roundup. If you want even more poetry goodness, check in at Jone Rush MacCulloch’s blog for the big Poetry Friday roundup.

I did determine that there’s a topic many of us can be happy about naturally – sweetness. A friend mentioned she’d had her first cider doughnut of the season, and I immediately thought, “Yes.” While I’ve never actually had a cider doughnut before (I know, but a.) we don’t do as much cider on the West Coast, in the same ways, and b.) apples good enough to eat are, to me, to be eaten out of hand or with a bit of caramel as an autumn treat, not …cooked unless it’s end of season. Maybe I’ll get there this year. Don’t judge me), I suspect they’re something I’d approve of wholeheartedly.

Middle grade author and librarian Mike Jung always comes to mind when I think of doughnuts, as his social media is mostly a lament when he’s not eating them, dreamy distraction when he is eating them, imagining when next he can eat them, and some library science, cute cat/offspring pictures, aikido, and I’m-revising-this-chapter-WHY-is-writing-so-HARD progress thrown in just for personal balance. Anything about doughnuts must, ergo, be for Mike… so this one’s for you, Mr. J.

I hope you find something to dance about this weekend. Lacking that, I hope you enjoy a doughnut (in whatever way “enjoy” works for you. I see my sugar intolerant folx. Just looking at the pretty frosting can be enough). If you’re creating mid-mess like I am (I. Hate. Moving. House.), keep the idea of a doughnut at the forefront of your mind… at least when you’re done wading through the mess you can give yourself a break and a treat of some sort. Take care, poets!