BY SANDI VETTER; ILLUSTRATION BY CAMILLE TAFT
This poem was inspired by a memory of watching my parents square dancing when I was growing up, as well as my own folk dancing with the Seattle Latvian folkdance ensemble ‘Trejdeksnitis’ (tray-dex-neet-iss). The group is named after a Latvian percussion instrument, sometimes used in dances.
A man calls out and dancers weave a square,
Not blind, but well aware of patterns made,
By simple movements-measured rhythmic steps.
Enlacing throngs of glowing, whirling forms,
A dusty curtain crowns the festive tribe.
(Like rivers flowing, dancing through the maze
Of twisting streets enhanced with passion lights.)
They cleave around, around, come home and leave,
And catch the eyes of those they meet and stop.
With hand on hand, the dancers circle round,
(A top so balanced, spinning soundly by)
Inciting madness into those who watch.
Convulsing lights between the darting crowd,
Reflect the youthful gleam in merry eyes.
Recalling later when the music taunts,
Again to dance the endless, rhythmic squares,
Still hearing after years of joyous tunes,
That single fiddle floating on the air.
Based in the Pacific Northwest, Sandi Vetter makes her living in healthcare, and leads an artful life filled with creativity, curiosity, and soul-filling experiences. She plays with plants (Mandalas, flatlays, animal spirits and faces made of foliage and flowers), paper (handmade cards, boxes and books), and dance as much as she can (Jazz, Nia, Latvian Folk Dance). You can see her foliage art on Instagram (@saulessister). Saulessister is a play on ‘Soul Sister,’ but she uses the Latvian word for The Sun, ‘Saule’ (sow-leh), to hint at her Latvian heritage.