blending an assortment of thoughts and experiences for my friends, relations and kindred spirit

blending an assortment of thoughts and experiences for my friends, relations and kindred spirit
By Alison Hobbs, blending a mixture of thoughts and experiences for friends, relations and kindred spirits.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Chinese students dancing

Here is a postscript that I forgot to add to my account of Day 7, the day before we left Beijing. After supper at the shopping mall, we didn't feel like returning to our hotel straight away so we walked into the peaceful Jiao Tong university campus for a last look round after the sun had set. In one of the courtyards there, we came across a scene that touched us: some of the students had hung strings of lights in the trees, brought a portable CD player along and had improvised a dance floor on the paving stones. The music was light classical. The girls had put on pretty dresses and each had a male partner for al fresco ballroom dancing. Perhaps they were the same students we'd seen practising their dance moves indoors, earlier in the week. We stood in a crowd of onlookers and watched them for a long while before moving on, very struck by the restraint of their behaviour and their old fashioned innocence.

I have written a poem about it.


Chinese students dancing

In the trees hung lanterns and a string of coloured lights,
Weakly bright,
Dance music playing from a boom box,
Sentimental, unprovocative.
You touched each other delicately, still too shy
To clutch.
A voice was singing
Wo xiang ni …

Will you remember that lightness in the darkness
And your heedless longing,
Swinging the girl in her thin dress in the waltzes, being swung, 
The freedom of it,
Not yet knowing passion or responsibilities?

There was warm air and the shadows of many leaves,
And watchers from a great distance, to whom you were oblivious.

All of you together, unassuaged, and the children joining in, 
Trying to dance like you.

Will you remember that music and those faces
When you have gone, grown old,
When you're confronted with sudden silence?

May 2015, Alison Hobbs

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