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Spanish Dancer

As on all its sides a kitchen-match darts white
flickering tongues before it bursts into flame:
with the audience around her, quickened, hot,
her dance begins to flicker in the dark room.
And all at once it is completely fire.
One upward glance and she ignites her hair and, whirling faster and faster, fans her dress into passionate flames, till it becomes a furnace from which, like startled rattlesnakes, the long naked arms uncoil, aroused and clicking.
And then: as if the fire were too tight around her body, she takes and flings it out haughtily, with an imperious gesture, and watches: it lies raging on the floor, still blazing up, and the flames refuse to die - Till, moving with total confidence and a sweet exultant smile, she looks up finally and stamps it out with powerful small feet.

by Rainer Maria Rilke
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