More Poetry by Shahina

Dancing is one way in which I express my innermost emotion. Writing poetry is another, but the times when I feel I am truly at my best are when the two come together and I can dance my poems or write my dance.

This is one of my favorite poems to dance.

The Rose
Fresh and unblemished
She turns to the sun—
Stretching, reaching, smiling, yearning.
One by one her petals roll back
Revealing her rich colors,
Her fragrance wafting on the summer breeze.
The bees and butterflies
Are enthralled, inescapably drawn to her-
Taking away with them her love.
Her petals keep rolling back.
Her colors and fragrance deepen.
Some petals soften and float gently
Back to the earth.
New ones open to greet the sun.
The breeze is cooler now,
And her petals, blown away
Can no longer keep out the chill.
She yearns for the warmth of summer,
But soon succumbs to sleep-
To dream of spring again.
The rose is not the blossom, but the root!
Secretly gaining strength
Within the bosom of the earth,
She prepares to beautify the earth again
Come spring.
This was written during the adrenaline high after a performance.

The dance is the thing. He said to me,
“No one ever healed a wounded soul with a Stairmaster.”
Brilliant words, so simple a concept.
Through all the ages people have danced around their fires
To celebrate, to commune, to grieve and to pray.
Instinctively they knew the healing power of the dance.
The song is the fire
And the dance is my life—
In it, I find myself
And I enjoy my own company.
It isn’t about being the best,
It is about being alive-
About feeling all there is to feel.
About sometimes feeling like hell
And knowing that that is okay too,
It is just another movement in the dance;
At other times feeling joy and exhilaration
As I execute a movement for the thousandth time
Finally getting it right for the first time.
Feeling the sweat pouring down my body,
Feeling utterly exhausted, but happily unable to stop.
Always wanting more.
Feeling the chills of excitement and the rush of adrenaline
At the flash of the lights and the sound of applause,
Feeling the crescendo pulsing through my veins
In rhythm with the drums that are pounding in my ears
I move as if by some unseen force outside of myself.
Feeling the changes in my body
As I grow younger and stronger through the dance.
May every fire have someone to dance around it.
May every dancer find the fire within the heart.
May every soul be healed by the firedance.

Bit by bit I have chipped away
At the walls I built by myself
Around myself
To hide from my pain.
Now, naked and vulnerable
I kneel before you
My soul as bare as my body
Trusting you
To be the steward of my heart.

Sleek, lean, hungry
She stalks the jungle for her meal.
Her teats swollen with milk
For her hungry kittens.
Finally, she pounces—
Unaware that she is observed
By a larger hunter.
Her prey concealed, she turns her steps
Toward her den.
Without warning the huntress becomes the hunted.
Her hands are bound
And she is hustled into the back
Of a waiting squad car.
She weeps, not for herself
But for her tiny innocent kittens.
Perhaps they will survive.
Someone will feed them, surely
But their appetites are not for food,
Their hunger, their longing, is for her.

Exploring the Depths
She lies slumbering in the deep. No one knows she is even there.
Many creatures make their homes within her watery catacombs,
To them she is just a part of the landscape they belong to.
Time was, she glided on the glassy surface of the sea.
Time was, she shone like the morning sun
But time and the salt water
Have dimmed her memory of that time.
So she waits
With her many secrets, terrible tales and precious gifts,
For someone to return them to the light.
It is time, I know.
Time to explore the secret wreckage.
Time to place it in the light
And heal the wounds concealed there.
In darkness they grow like toxic mold.
In darkness they gain strength and power
From my fears and doubts.
So I move from chamber to chamber
Peering into the darkness with my tiny lantern.
I gather what I may
Hoping to find something that will make it all worthwhile.
Fearing to be trapped and never see the sun again.
Bit by bit I collect what is offered me to find
Placing each item close upon my person
Until I know I must go.
If I overburden myself I may smother.
I turn to the light and glide up to taste again
The fresh salt air,
So see the sun and the brilliant sky.
Here to examine my treasures
And to gauge their worth
In the economics of my soul.
Some of them are priceless.
Some must be returned to the sea
Where darkness can cover them once more.
But I have seen them now
And I know their substance.
I have dispelled their powers and I am free.
And when I choose to return, I know the way
And my lantern is brighter now.

Return to Eden
Once we were naked and did not know.
Naïve, carefree and richly blessed
We saw only the garden and not beyond its walls—
Indeed, we knew not that there was a beyond.

Alas, in our innocence we could not appreciate
The beauty of the garden
For what is joy when there is no sadness?
Or love without anger-
Peace without violence-
Fulfillment without hunger-
Health without sickness-
Or leisure without haste?
Can one who has been blind from birth know the colors of the dawn?

A baby is born into loving arms, yet it will leave them.
It will grow and reach and strive and learn,
It will fall and fail and cry and hurt.
Yet it will not stop.
We tasted the fruit like a baby tastes its legs.
Our eyes were opened and we saw our nakedness.
We recognized the beauty of the garden
That was ours no longer.
We saw ugliness and pain, evil and shame.
Indeed, all those things were there when we did not know it.
The beauty and goodness were there and we knew those neither.

Are any of those things less real because we do not see them?
Are not our eyes now opened to all things?

Perhaps the reality we experience, then,
Is in what we select to look at.
Perhaps we can recapture our lost innocence
By seeking the garden within our hearts.

Perhaps we can free ourselves
From the clutches of a perverse culture
By reclaiming our own naked beauty.
If some might view us
Through their own dark and distorted lenses
Are we truly any different?
Those who might see our nakedness lustfully
Are to be pitied, not hated or feared,
For they
Have lost even the memory of the garden.