Lucia Coppola



If you listen to them carefully you may hear the most extraordinary things 
They need to be coaxed into it and arranged in particular ways 
but usually they manage all by themselves. 
They only seem dumb because they’re not good movers, 
though they vibrate continuously.
Bones and branches are similar but less solid - 
marrowed with light as opposed to reflecting it.
The language is more like living dance than some arcane, forgotten chant.

This is why roots of trees creep under rocks, and fingers and toes into sand. 
The melody finds harmony with its bass. 
Sifting through the silt by the banks of a river, we may find gold 
but it takes a bit of leverage, patience and concentration. 
The mechanical gesture requires more alchemy than it does good luck.

Once I found a roundish green rock in the shallow current of a stream. 
It was beautifully polished and resembled a Buddha. 
It had a little cave for a mouth that chanted “Om”. 
And in that “om” there was a green place that smelled of the earth
and of springtime.
I lay down in that green until the fall of the night.
A firefly hovered nearby and I watched the iridescent sparks of its wings
present as stars in the sky. 
In that moment, the stars were a choir singing “halleluia” up above, 
and the firefly, a fairy dancing here below. 
I weighed the possibility that they might be pretending to be
what they’re not - that the star may be nothing but a clump of dust
and the firefly, a bug. 
Or maybe they’re exactly that which they would have us believe. 
Or maybe it’s a mixture of both.
These are the thoughts I lay down in the grass next to me.
Then I fell asleep and dreamed. 

Without alchemy dreams vanish into the air. But if we look, 
we’ll find a color, a smell, a certain walk or laugh or smile. 
Hands, eyes and the texture of skin are not forgotten but etched into oneself. 
They’re proof that there’s nothing illusory about the enchantment of a rock. 
The crypt, the well, the church atop a mountain suspended in the sky - 
rocks: the very substance of our dreams - 
as real as the empty howl of the night.

From ashes and dust, they rumble and mumble and roar - 
crystalline forms of varying densities.
Listen and you may hear them - from out of the dust they say, “Amen”.



The Clearing

Our boots are clumped with mud and on our backs
we carry little wings. We gather for the circle dance 
and sprouting roots we take hands in the round.

But it’s when the dance takes off that the journey really begins 
with time reeling, thumping, treading delicately towards the 
taking off of us with our wings into the air. Pirouetting with the beat, 
we skip with the glide, the float and the pause as further down 
the earth has become a refrain - point of stillness, darker 
with a more introspective vibrancy - then silence, briefly pausing 
before the next upbeat and rest.

The great adventure takes place in the air, where the song is best sung - 
lyrics implying questions about what may be the next stopping off.
How long for each moment to weave itself like a tale of enchantment
into that thing that laughs, sighs and weeps throughout the night? 

Rituals of carnage - Rituals of peace. This moment exists despite 
the possibility that severed heads may be on maypoles not so far away. 
We choose to be the antidote to the lynching mobs - to the townfolk
that taunt, torture and tease - that have the audacity to cast shadows. 
To them we answer stomping down upon the darkness as our 
laughter weaves its way past dusk towards dawn, echoing 
between the branle and the gigue. Once again we hold hands 
knowing never to forget.

Dearly we pay for decisions we make and dearly we pray.
We stutter and we kiss. Does the realization of who we are now
bring with it the gentleness of grace? Perhaps.... 
At least the sun above and the water below will have touched, 
as again and again the circle is cast and again we go round.
How far we are then from those coldest of cold winter nights.

Sweet pilgrimage with children, elders and songs with truest meanings. 
Sweet legs, feet, fingers that grasp this golden rule of our entwinement.
Our sweat glistens like clouds that gather then stream down with rain. 

For in this place the circle of light beckons with each rise and fall - 
a quiet like the empyrean echo of a bagpipe - a breath that billows
and spirals round a core, 
as rhythm calls to gather, rhythm calls to scatter - gather and scatter 
then weaves its way around again
and back to a circular pause.






Lucia Coppola is an ESL teacher who is originally from New York and has lived in France since 1985. She has a professional background in dance and body techniques. Her writing is largely informed by nature, traditional storytelling and by where she lives near the forest of Paris.