After the Ballet: Neumeier’s Nijinsky

by Maureen Scott Harris

Toronto poet and essayist Maureen Scott Harris has published three collections of poetry: A Possible Landscape (Brick Books, 1993), Drowning Lessons (Pedlar Press, 2004), awarded the 2005 Trillium Book Award for Poetry, and Slow Curve Out  (Pedlar Press, 2012). Her chapbook, Waters Remembered, recently appeared from Espresso.

Walking home from the ballet
sky midnight blue at six p.m.
half-moon blurred behind clouds

mind reverberant with mad Nijinsky’s chant:

dead dead dead dead

bodies in military jackets
flinging themselves across the stage
on the trajectory of his voice

(I bit my lip to keep from sobbing)

Nijinsky’s dead, and so is Mark Strand
(who wrote, Wherever I am, I am
what is missing) both now as blurred
as that moon falling into its darker half.
Everything is pared and shorn

but I am walking, part of the city’s maze
and motion, threading through shadows
on the sidewalk, wrapped against the cold,
terrified, exhausted, exultant

more than half-way
towards my own death     The wonder of it     Strand
and Nijinsky missing but here     we’re all dissolving
into sky, streetlights, the shrubs that cloak
the iron fence around the courthouse.

Dear Aristotle, is this burgeoning
what you meant by catharsis?

 


Toronto poet and essayist Maureen Scott Harris has published three collections of poetry: A Possible Landscape (Brick Books, 1993), Drowning Lessons (Pedlar Press, 2004), awarded the 2005 Trillium Book Award for Poetry, and Slow Curve Out  (Pedlar Press, 2012). Her chapbook, Waters Remembered, recently appeared from Espresso.

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