Maida by Jonathan Chaves


Dear Maida,
The Linked in connection reminds me of how important to me your presence at GW has been. Let me wish you Merry Christmas, and offer the attached as a little gift.

Very best,

Mini-Ode to a Dancer

The greatest painters and the greatest poets
Knew that art is crafted in a trance:
Botticelli’s circle, cosmic angels,
Yeats: “How know the dancer from the dance?”

Maida Withers graces our college
Both with movement and with friendly glance;
She’s the place’s soul, warmth radiating,
Choreographing us into a dance.

Are things providential? Or determined?
Are they, au contraire, the merest chance?
Take from earth, from heaven, and keep stepping,
Crouching, flying, in eternal dance.

Are we body only? Only soul?
We are both, and that’s why there’s romance.
Maida: Such a gift as yours instructs us
That we all are dancers in the dance.

Jonathan Chaves
Professor  of Chinese
The George Washington University
Rome Hall 468  801 22nd St. NW
Washington DC 20052 USA

Poem sent to Maida Withers 12_16_2020

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