Café de Paris

This pair stands apart

from the golden-shoed imposters,

professional partners, ex competition dancers,

redolent of net and sequins.

She’s in a white dress, hair scraped back,

he suited impeccably in cream.

Their concentration is complete,

and now the ritual music can begin.

The dance they dance was called obscene,

pressing such sensuality into a pause

that no-one could mistake it.

They stop as if trying to remember,

each with a head turn, one and then the other –

or is it to forget, eyes never meeting –

the abandon of that previous moment,

when they became one being in total union,

frenzy fined into a formal gesture.

Supple ferocity takes over now;

they glide like jaguars, her simple dress,

taken by surprise at sudden movements,

follows more slowly with its skirt.

The dance allows each dancer to reveal

an essence of what each partly is

in life’s complexity,

eternal representatives;

the two become one, the one, two,

in figures of fusion and division,

with all the tension of the human

this tea dance time,

this Thursday afternoon, to records.