• lenten journal: dance

    by  • March 28, 2015 • lenten journal, music • 2 Comments


    If Ginger were writing this blog post tonight with this word in mind, I can guarantee it would have a completely different feel and would involve “Uptown Funk” in some way. What’s really played in the record player of my mind for a couple of days are waltzes, which are, I think, my favorite kind of song because they manage to carry hope and longing in their rhythm. Life, it seems to me, moves in three-quarter time.

    Tonight, then, is a musical post of several of my favorite dance songs, starting with Lyle Lovett’s “The Waltzing Fool”—

    and the waltzing fool
    he knows they’re all thinking
    he’s only an old waltzing fool . . .

    The second song may be in 4/4, but it’s a waltz at heart and it tells a great story: Nanci Griffith’s “Love at the Five and Dime”—

    they’d sing, dance a little closer to me . . .

    David Wilcox wrote a song about going to his high school reunion called “Last Chance Waltz” that kills me every time I hear it.

    won’t you please waltz me free
    the turns of our steps are untangling me
    free from some dragged around memory
    and the rusty old remnants of fear
    and after 10 years
    I’m melting the shackles with tears

    My closing offering comes from Pierce Pettis. The song is called “To Dance.” I couldn’t find a video clip, so I’ve uploaded the audio and offer the full lyric.

    to dance
    a perspective of bones
    a musical bath
    clearing a path of one’s own
    blue jeans and muscle or crinoline rustle
    you learn it in class or alone
    yo dance

    to dance
    it’s a gravity thing
    shoes to the earth
    pulling toward a verse
    that is beckoning
    the dizzy effect of rhythm & sweat
    flying like a kid in a swing
    to dance

    arms in a moment’s
    unworried connection
    a telling of hearts
    where they don’t need protection
    a journey in place
    a private affection to share

    to dance
    is swimming in time
    where passion in public
    and prudence can somehow align
    moving like lovers
    on top of the covers
    and everyone knows it’s alright
    to dance

    touch without touching love without grieving
    hold on and let go without anyone leaving
    all of it part of the beat you’re receiving
    and sending back out through your feet
    in itself, it’s complete
    and God it is sweet
    to dance

    to dance
    the movement confides
    limbs in a language spoken in three quarter time
    then is suddenly gone
    at the end of the song
    and you know you were safe all along
    to dance, to dance
    place in body part

    Shall we dance?



    Blogging since December 2005


    2 Responses to lenten journal: dance

    1. Leah King
      March 29, 2015 at 8:30 am

      Milton, I love Pierce’s “dance” tune almost as much as I love Grace Pettis’ “Dancing”. Thank you for introducing me to it.

    2. March 30, 2015 at 5:17 pm

      You always introduce me to some new melody. I am thankful for that.

      (Myself, I like a little ‘Uptown Funk’, too. 🙂 )

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