Liberty Dances

By Catt Kingsgrave -- Spring 2007


Saint Liberty's dancing on the street corner.

No stately minuet, this dance, and no hoochy-cooch either;

It's an unignorable burst of joy from her green foam crown to her natty Converse souls.

It shakes her like a gospel choir, a convulsion of flashing grin and scarlet, fuzzy gloves Against the springtime chill.


Today she doesn't have her tambourine, but she's no more ignorable for want of a few

Pieces of hammered tin.

No one fails to see her there, however hard they try;

It is more than her minimum wage job to be noticed,

It is her will, her fire, her hope, and her passion,

And she will not be ignored.

Her red gloves dare you to try.


She catches my eye there at the stoplight,

Looks straight through my windscreen, points me out with a scarlet finger, and shouts

Her head shaking, as though bejewelled with cowrie shells and golden beads,

As though crowned with Deity and the Sun on Solstice morning,

And I don't read her grinning lips, or hear her words over the mumbling radio,

But I know her meaning:


Why are you not dancing, Child?


I pay her with a smile and a promise, which she accepts with an Empress' grace

And as I drive away, I think she's got the right of it;


Liberty isn't freedom, really; freedom can be chained.

It isn't wealth, it isn't ease and comfort,

It isn't a cozy paycheck and 200 channels of cable.

It isn't a 401k, or a welfare cheque, or the right to vote for someone who lies for a living,

Or any thing that can be held in hand, or trod under greed's foot,

It's this.  This one, vibrant, joy-filled street corner.


Liberty isn't silenced by war or want or a nasty cold wind,

She isn't patina'd by industry's grime, or pimped out by politicians.

Her eyes aren't hollowed with drug, nor dewy-wide behind rosy glass.

She sees the crumbling tenements around her,

The shopfronts boarded, and the workless folks huddling along the icy walks,

While the joyless folks, with the means to just pass through

Just pass through.

And she dances anyhow.


Liberty isn't static, stoic, staring out to sea from some harbour stone;

Liberty is dancing -- dancing when they don't pay enough for you to stand still.

Dancing when the world around you is too discouraged to sing.

Dancing when things could be better.

Dancing when things could be worse.

Dancing because she cannot, will not be stilled.

Dancing so that she will not be ignored.

Liberty is dancing.

And nobody can stop her.



Oh Amen.