Dream Galliard

Sleeping cats in the throne room
dream of mice in high-heeled shoes,
the ruby shoes,
the blood-filled shoes of surrogates,
women with musical tails,
who dance on five fingers
with princes in laughing silk
in boots with gifted tongues
licking mice in high-heeled shoes
on dangerous floors,
albino mice in the dreams of cats,
mice who bleed in shoes bred specially for the dance
that feeds the victim mice
to princes with gifted tongues.

Questions and Answers

What inspired “Dream Galliard”?

Dream Galliard is an Elizabethan dance. Queen Elizabeth was somewhat paralysed in her private life because a) she had been traumatised by the beheading of her mother by her father, which would scare anyone off marriage, even a queen, and b) any choice would comporomise her fututre and that of her country. It is a personal poem, I was caught between lives, then and now. Then I was married to someone who didn’t want me to write because he wanted to be the focus of attention. Now I am married to a musician who loves and respects the music in words.

I don’t write poems like this anymore, because I am free and freedom has given me the opportunity to take a world view. I am interested in writing poems that expand my own knowledge of humanity, that look for solutions to problems, particularly ones that affect children. I’m sorry that I haven’t published any recent poems in CanLit. You can find some on my website lrogers.com.

What poetic techniques did you use in “Dream Galliard”?

I never think about technique. It all spills out of my tiny brain, my subconscious and conscious minds. I have a rule. Do not think while you write. Think later when you are shaping the poem. Having said that, I have absorbed a lot of information about technique through a lifetime of reading and study. Reading is an essential activity for writers, the mote the better. I read everything from the tabloids to the Bible. Not much difference actually. It is all social anthropology. The more I write, the easier it is. It is the same with dancing, playing a musical instrument, riding a bicycle, juggling, whatever. Once you get your groove, you don’t have to think about it.

This poem “Dream Galliard” originally appeared in Mothers & Daughters. Spec. issue of Canadian Literature 109 (Summer 1986): 33.

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