Sunday, 26 June 2011

Dancing Shoes

Gertie has just taken part in her second Irish-dancing class. She loves dancing, and aged four, has already been doing ballet for more than two years. As a child I loved Irish-dancing, and carried on taking part in competitions until I was thirty, (albeit with a long break through my late teens and early twenties!) I loved the excitement of the feis and all the dressing-up that went with it. But at twenty-eight weeks pregnant with baby number three, my dancing days are well and truly over. So the item that has inspired this blog-post in response to Jodie's writing prompts this week are my tired and worn-out shoes, next to Gertie's shiny new and very, very tiny ones.

It is a personality cat-walk as I revist old loves: nostalgic, but memories faded at the edges, a little tarnished on reflection. And watch history repeating itself!


A restless night: my hair in lumpy rags.
For this six-year-old white-dreadlocked dreamer
The unroutine 5am start
Prevents sleep more than the tight wound curls.
In the morning the ritual unwinding,
A mess of ribboned ringlets scooped to top-knot.
Not really a look for London, circa 1980.
Then soft leather shoes lattice-laced
Like twisted liquorice around poodle socks
Thickening my ankles. A racing greyhound,
Hungry for the hare. But my chase was for a trophy
In the jig; a shiny medal in the reel;
Highly commended in the horn-pipe,
And my mother: glowing, proud and smiling.

Now I see the glitz under glare of bare Whitechapel bulb;
Fuss and pomp and empty Gaelic line.
McEvoy by name: a tired cultural link,
Forcing Irishness under lure of dress and gloss.
As I enrol my daughter in her Irish dancing class.

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