To A Dancing Doll

Don Marquis

Formal, quaint, precise, and trim,
  You begin your steps demurely—
There’s a spirit almost prim
  In the feet that move so surely,
So discreetly, to the chime
Of the music that so sweetly
                  Marks the time.

But the chords begin to tinkle
And your feet they flash and flicker—
Flash and flutter to a tricksy
                  Fickle meter;
And you foot it like a pixie—
                  Only fleeter!

Now our current, dowdy

“Turkey-trots” and rowdy
For they made you overseas
In politer times than these,
In an age when grace could please,
                  Ere St. Vitus
Clutched and shook us, spine and knees;—
  Loosed a plague of jerks to smite us!

Well, our day is far more brisk
  And our manner rather slacker),
And you are nothing more than bisque
                  And lacquer—
But you shame us with the graces
Of courtlier times and places
                  When the cheap
And vulgar wasn’t “art”—
  When the faunal prance and leap
                  Weren’t “smart.”

Have we lost the trick of wedding
                  Grace to pleasure?
Must we clown it at the bidding
  Of some tawdry, common measure?

Can’t you school us in the graces
Of your pose and dainty paces?—
Now the chords begin to tinkle
And your feet they flash and flicker—
And you mock us as you featly
  Swing and flutter to the chime
Of the music-box that sweetly
                  Marks the time!

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