Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Death Becomes Her: Death A Corps de ballet

Ballerina in a Death's Head, by Salvador Dali (1939), 
Photo from WikiPaintings

For a glossary of ballet terms, your “secret decoder ring” for this poem, see Wikipedia here.

Death Becomes Her:
Death A Corps de ballet

Death becomes her
Dance—and death
Becomes a blur

Death danced the ballerina
Before death beset

Shows its cards
Through bone shards

The dance

Dance death back
From where it was sent

Dance into another
Life—Into arms of Lover

Death left speechless
With nothing more to say

Before death suspects

Shatter death’s teeth
Life just within reach

Jeté—The peril
Death of all classes
And Jeté life to the masses

Life ouverte—Reveal
No more death to steal
Life! And death—surreal

Nine lives—Pas de chat
Death confused
Life is where we’re at

From death’s dark
Live for another day

Port de bras
Piqué the Devils eyes
Beginning his demise

The last Quatrième
Death unraveled
At the seam

Renversé—the curse
Dance—and death
Turns in Reverse

Soubresaut—lift from death
To life—Sauté—Frappé
The end of death’s day

Temps levé
Tombé—Death falls
Waltz—The dance calls

Tours en l'air—Salvation occur!
Dance—and death
Becomes a blur

From death to life

© November 20, 2012, Robbie Pruitt

This poem, Death A Corps de ballet: Death Becomes Her, was submitted for the November Surrealism Poetry Prompt on TweetSpeak Poetry, offered this Monday by Seth Haines here.

For this surrealism poetry prompt, “Building on the tradition of Dali’s “The Faces of War,” can you re-imagine the coming world,” I decided to look at “Ballerina in a Death's Head,” by Salvador Dali (1939), and the war between death and life.

In imagining the world to come, it is clear that death has to be overcome before redemption and restoration. The war against death here is a dance where beauty begins to emerge from the “shadow of death” itself. While death seeks to become us, or overcome us, it can be transcended in resurrection in the beautiful dance with the author of life, The Author of Resurrection.

This poem was also submitted to Open Link Night at dVerse Poets. To see more poems submitted, please visit the site. The links will be live at 2 p.m. Central time today.


  1. Quite a clever use of dance terms, Robbie; a nice ekphrastic piece that pays homage to Dali's image as well as Seth's prompt.

  2. dang robbie...first love all the dance refs...my wife was a ballerina for 18 years....and then to mix that with death....as you said at dverse...and say in your words....when death lay speechless...that is thing of beauty...great verse man...

    1. Brian, I appreciate that feedback. . .I was wondering how this would be heard or received by someone with knowledge of Ballet. . . I do not really know much and had to do a lot of research for this piece. . .so glad it spoke. . . and can't wait for the glorious day when death lays speechless. . .

  3. Your terminology works very wall - the words are so musical and great offering for a surreal prompt. - Corps de ballet so suggestive as well ! k.

    Your blog keeps trying to make me anonymous! I am Manicddaily of http://Manicdddaily.wordpress.com.

    1. Thank you for your kind comments and for reading!