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The Dance of Salome
Herod bellowed out the night's festive orders..
"Bring the torches, bring the tables..
more wine, that we may rejoice,
for tonight we revel in kindred friendship."
Herod strolled onto the terrace, nearly stumbled in
a soldier's spilt blood.
Herod leering said, "Dance for me Salome"
Salome said only, "No Tetrarch"
Herodias said, "I will not have her dance"
Herod, "Salome dance for me, I command you, dance for your King"
Salome repeated, "No Tetrarch"
(Herodius looked on with pride in daughter's refusal to her King.)
"Please dance for your king Salome, dance and name your price" he pleaded.
"Whatever you ask for you shall have
up to half my Kingdom, I hold this to you in Oath".
Salome, "By what will you swear Tetrarch?"
Herod, "By my life, my crown, my gods, whatever you desire even to half my kingdom...if you will dance for me Salome. Please dance for me"
Salome, "You have sworn in Oath Tetrarch"
Herod, "So be it, I swear by all that I am or will ever be as King of Judaea."
Salome replied, "I will dance for you, Tetrarch"
Salome's sandals are removed, the veils are fitted, and perfume anointed..
Salome to Prophet:
I am Salome, daughter of Herodias, Princess of Judaea!
Watch me dance
his eyes turn away from mine..
watch me chuwl in circles, with laughing lips,
seven veils meant to favor head & hips..
six of silken clothes and one bejeweled secret hidden..
'til none remain.
The walls reverberate in drum beat sound, young eyes roll back in trance,
Salome begins to dance..
hips now move in rhythm to the echoing din, while head moves to a tune unheard..
arms join the chorus' undulating pulse..
she grasps the first veil from her face.
Salome' thoughts raced and recalled her spurned advances:
oh burdened prophet, who wears a tunic woven from camel hair,
you do not see me yearning, that which I desire most.
you called my flesh evil and renounced it without care,
with sightless eyes fixed on an invisible host.
Twirling whirling in tight circles, hands reach out to invisible whips..
now match to the fleeting, beating of the drum and flute in fevered pitch.
Salome like a whirling dervish spun, in a self flagellating dream..
as the second veil fell away from her hips.
a veil for each eye that reviled mine,
a veil for your mouth that rebukes my name.
two for sinewy arms longed, held away unkind..
last two for strong legs that set loin aflame.
The music ebbed and flowed to each choreographed movement born.
Fretted lute and lyre's strum, matched tempo to, oiled oxen skin stretched drum.
As Herodias' young daughter pedals peeled impassioned with scorn,
floated like a lotus flower with only two veils left undone.
Salome to Prophet:
watch me kiss with ruby lips that you cursed the other day,
caught only a glance.., she, of silken breasts and moon-glow belly,
anointed with unguent nard and juniper berry..
The sixth veil now in quick stroke pulled away, Salome slowly turned back to the gawking King & revelers..
Glistening legs splayed out slowly, surrender to the tiled floor,
her piercing eyes never leaving the ardour'd king's gaze.
posterior bumped, but a brief moment only..
with dimples of Venus displayed.
Then slowly lithe limber limbs moved back together,
ascending as though only a feather's weight held..
no hands or arms required..
her taught frame seemed to defy gravity's spell.
Now, head arch back, and torso follow, as tendrils of dark hair touch down.
arms outstretched in balanced airy embrace.
Right leg extended skyward as an acrobat, toes clinched on discarded veil,
reach out to gently swab Herod's feverish brow.
At this moment right hand loosed remaining girdled brace.
Gliding softly along smooth bare leg, the veil falls in Herod's lap,
like a bird's talon release of prey.
Salome's final entreat:
you a man of no property or position yet offered all treasures,
I the firebrand caught in your spell, heart full as if to burst.
yet you scoff a soul filled in longing, that suffers still..
clinging to a devotion, found my taste guilty, bitter, and unclean.
The terrace room fell silent as a tomb save for her inhaling, exhaling pant,
the gilded ceiling and walls shimmered in torchlight.
In one motion her right leg bent at knee to torso quickly assailed,
the foot in obedience, planted high on the left thigh.
Right leg slid down to left to stand straight as soldier at attention..
graceful arms unfold in tribute allegiance' bow,
palms turned upward, fingers in slight bend..
as if they plead for mercy now.
Oh Tetrarch with herds of beast, precious jewels, and gold filled purse..
if you are pleased with my dance,
what I ask you will pay, and you must pay..,before Luna's lighted chariot wanes.
Salome's tortured soul churned in bitter thought:
Swiveling frame that captivated, yet he still turned away, turned away..
from love's sparked fire and finger's touch, the dance of Salome.
Herod: "What would you have Salome?, I swear it will be yours. Yours before the night is through!"
What would I ask of Tetrarch? Daughter's approval by mother's nod...
The Prophet's head on a silver platter.
With apologies to Oscar Wilde.
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