‘Walpurgisnacht Ballet’
by Jessica Wilkinson

Humour at the helm and pointing to hell…

………..Choreography: George Balanchine
………..Music: Charles Gounod

………..Did you not promise/ to accompany me in silence?
…………………………………………………………
– Mephistopheles

Humour at the helm and pointing to hell,
we don’t know where we are—
coasting at sea in a jellyfish sway
or knee deep in a field of lavender, breathless,
while a storm whips up heady affirmation.

Do bearings matter, when death is certain?
Best enjoy the wayward fête, despite the dancers’
strike. (They have grown beyond ‘family’ = cruel
success.) Mr. B is sullen, remembers the old days,
his pawned pants, struggle. Things are different

now. Smooth intervention is a hopeless pass
in the face of mad silence. Come now, come!/
To cure the fever/ Of your wounded heart…
These women are pushed and pushing us to be bold;
hair pulled back, there are ribbons, revellers,

pirouette ending with a head tilted right. The night
is always neat in the beginning, Grace of Monaco
allure and hop-to-toe quick spirits in the balance.
In no time, the cup is drained and music kicks
from bells to drums, overthrowing quiet reverie.

The vision becomes: wild hair, fierce legs, frenzy.
And that stiff, right-angled palm signals: Charge!