Poetry by Lindy Hoppers
The Poetry Corner
Hi Lindy Hoppers!!!
Who says that all we do is dance?

Check out these Poems.


I Killed an Accordion Today

In fact, I have killed no accordions. It was my childhood friend, Tony G., who killed the accordion. I only watched. In this poem, I try to reconstruct his state of mind. Personally, I have nothing against musical instruments in general, or accordions in particular. Should you be able to form a committee to save endangered musical instruments, I will be willing to make a generous contribution.

I only meant to cripple it
With an axe in my hand
I felt a sudden desire

A dozen times the head of the axe
Tore into the convulsing black bellows
of the screaming instrument
Keys shattered and scattered
Reeds flew through the air
I watched as the insides oozed out
onto the cement
The accordion honked its last note

I have destroyed a perfectly good accordion.

The Mayberry Haiku

The inspiration for this group of haiku was a discussion about traditional poetry and its reliance on references to classical literature. Clearly, invoking the names of Apollo, Aeneas, or the Sybil can convey lots of concentrated meaning --- provided that the reader is familiar with the particular legendary figure being cited. For example, mention of Psyche should alert the reader that we will be dealing with an individual whose curiosity exceeds his prudence. If you don't know this, much of the poem will be lost. Until the 1960s, students regularly learned about the classics and thus had access to traditional poetry. Unfortunately, this is no longer the case and the link to the "common culture" of our ancestors has been broken, rendering incomprehensible much of the best poetry of the ages. I have been experimenting with ways to reconstruct traditional poetry based on a new common culture - the mythology of television. Here is one set of experiments.


Authority with warmth
Tall and deliberate
His soft voice calms the moment


Rash and insecure
High wrinkled forehead
A bobbing adam's apple


Towheaded boy with fishing pole
Innocent mischief
Redeemed in dad's arms


Nurturing presence
Lonely, she cooks and cleans
With no thought for herself


Calculating presence
Fountain of harmless gossip
Behind wide open eyes


Bumpkin without guile
Improbable predicaments
Resolved by his charm


Rube with attitude
His own worst enemy
Dumb as a box of rocks


Passed out, living in
Cell with prints and doilies
He is his own jailer


Renegade of the hills
Resists society
As he walks his own path


Country family, mute
Except when playing
High style bluegrass music


White gloves, hat with veil
Small and birdlike, she
Makes barney almost bearable.


The virtuous schoolteacher
Soft and dark
Will she ever catch Andy?

Early Retirement

Things are being carried much too far
I'm losing track of these absent winter days

Friends are gone away
One by one they don't come around as before

Twisting hands...
I pace the perimeter of my yard
Looking at the carefully watered weeds
and sky

Cars pass by
But none turn in my driveway any more

An Afternoon at Sycamore Island

The Sycamore Island Club is one of the oldest institutions in the Washington DC area. It has been in existence as a boating society since 1865. The club owns Sycamore Island and Ruppert's Island in the main channel of the Potomac River just outside the city limits. It is an island of total serenity in the madness that is Washington.

The river is flat as glass
a big black dance floor
ready for Fred and Ginger

Cold when you get in
with a warm bottom current
there must have been a lot of rain upstream, because
the water is full of fine particles

Hang off the rough plywood float
a thousand minnows tickle my legs
they think I am the may-fly
to end all may flies
they dance when you duck your head just
under the surface

An armada floats by
a great log is an aircraft carrier shielded
by a destroyer screen of leaves and twigs
a large-mouth bass breaks the surface
and scatters the fleet.
the warning is unheeded and the convoy
regroups in the bubbles of the main channel
to meet oblivion on the spillway of the dam.

A heron sits on a small rock in the stream
the rock has acquired enough silt
to support a small plant
the heron is motionless with head cocked
looking like a stuffed bird on a pedestal
in a museum with a polished marble floor
a solitary traveler paddles by
in a wood canoe painted forest green
with his equipment covered in a yellow tarp.
the heron stretches his neck and takes wing
leaving footprints in the water.

A honk means that it's one o'clock
The geese are hungry
Heloise is
grey and delicate
shy and demure
Abelard is
all white
and aggressive

The Pepperidge Farm Thrift Store gives away
stale bread to feed the geese
Today they have nothing but fat-free bread
foie gras will not burden my soul on judgement day.
Abelard gives a mighty peck to intimidate
poor Heloise
I have to throw bread off either end of the float
so that she can have a decent lunch.

An Asian woman asks
if her child can feed the geese
the little girl squeals with delight
the mother holds on to the child
by the seat of the pants
a new experience, yes
danger, never

Sated, the geese retire to the shore
and preen themselves under a sycamore
that gently dips its branches into the water.

The military helicopters fly north while
incoming jetliners fly south
every five minutes
a sonorous ballet choreographed by distant
air-traffic controllers
at lower levels, a duck and an egret are
cleared for landing
a mockingbird engages a crow in a dogfight; and
a muskrat swims the short channel to
Ruppert's Island.

Wally the watersnake is not at the mid-channel float.
Could he have been crushed by some heel?
wally keeps Sycamore Island free of
rats and mice and
Mall Culture.

a bad example of free form poetry about swing
by Dan LaGrone

The following poem was written after an extensive poetry unit in creative writing class and my first trip to the America Restaurant. Before you give me flack about rhyme and meter, it's free verse, so I can get away with it. What else do you expect from a high school sophomore?

(Alternate Title: why high schoolers should be kept away from keyboards and dance floors)

by Dan LaGrone

A great big band
A bouncy wooden floor
Pants that go up to men's armpits
Disturbingly short skirts

It's kind of frightening at first
(It's the shoes that do it)
but it is enticing

The mammoth roar of the horns
The eight count beat

It draws me in

Like a siren

It makes me want to move my feet

Then the band roars into
Sing Sing Sing

and I realize

I stink

the suburban lament
by Dan LaGrone

This particular poem was written during the Christmas season. I was walking through Woodbridge and I saw a Christmas tree lying in the gutter and it struck me. I immediatly sat on the curb and scribbled the rough draft for the following poem on the back of old calander pages I had stuffed in my jacket. I then rushed home and wrote it up.

the suburban lament

I strode through the vast gray-green land, it great ebony
roads coursing
through it
Like rivers to the sea

I walked on the edge of one of the great black stripes

I looked down and saw
the great corpse of christmas
lying in the
as I have seen
the corpses all the seasons and holidays before it.

It was strange to see it there
lying like a fallen god
its royal robe of lights and tinsel gone
The bright Packages no longer lying before it

It lay in front of a vast house
its shoulders rubbing with the houses
next to it

That house's cheer had been folded up
stuffed into plastic boxes
and forgotten

It would sleep deeply through the
warm spring, hot summer, and cool

Again the house would become a faceless obelisk
along with hundreds of others
in neat rows and columns

Touched only by
brief spots of life

Like daubs of pigment
on a painters
bleached bone canvas

They are fortresses against life
lit by flourescents
populated by people
whose faces I can't see

like unnatural mountains
on an unnatural plain

Little hells
made of press board
and aluminum siding

They stand sentinel silently
Their grimy windows like eyes
Their hollow doors
great, wide mouths

Some have broken free of this gray womb

There are many who are bound
by chains of love
guilt, obligation
and pain

You must not be sucked in
or you will drown in a sea
of hot top and Dutch Boy enamel

Find the black ribbon that will lead you
from this gray-green land

a boy and a girl
by Dan LaGrone

This one's for a couple of kids who know each other a little better than they should. You know who you are.

a boy and a girl

A girl stands in her back yard
The grass has just started growing again

But she's not cold

She's wearing an old Khaki windbreaker
But it's too big for her
and it dosn't smell as a women's jacket should

She also wears a ring
It is not small and dainty as women's rings are
It is large and clunky and
set with a dark stone
It is wrapped with black yarn
to keep it from sliding off

There is also a boy
He stands by his door and shivers

It is chilly
and by all rights he should be wearing a coat

But he isn't

As he stands there and looks at the black and silver sky
his fingers reach down
to toy with a ring

that isn't there

The night is quiet
and they both stand by their houses

just thinking of someone they know

The Lurker
By Poser ("The Worlds Most Beat Poet")

[My pen name is "Poser". I think that anonymity fits the subject. You know who we are - the people at swing events who don't dance. Well, I collect records and I like to check out live swing bands to see what sort of stuff they're writing these days. One day, perhaps, I'll take the time to learn how to swing. For now I'm content to play quitar and just listen.]

Boom, bop, zing zoot zap
The Cat In The Hat and
All That
Shadows cover me from
endless nights
street lights
and my heels hit pavement
click clack
scat like Ella
the sidelines sweat
visionary dancing
moving and twisting
age old beats
almost tempt me
vinyl collection
I've listened for years in the corner
someday the beat
will drive me to the

The Waiting Game
by Dan LaGrone

(Alternate Title: How love messes with your head)

[I'm a great advocate of that crazy hormonal imbalance called love, so I tried to put the subject to verse. Free verse, that is.]

He wrings his hands
and sits by the


He's scared witless.

He thinks of how she looks and how she talks and her smile, how they met
and her phone number and her house and her dog and her cat and and and

He could call her.

But he doesn't want to look TOO interested.

He's scared her dad'll break his ribs
And her sister will tell all her friends
And that her mom will, too.

But if he doesn't call she'll think he doesn't care at all.

Then she won't even talk to me.

I mean him.

by Kevin Missen

A love letter with chocolate

Swallowing that chocolate you just ate
May have been your fatal mistake!
Your smooth complexion will get lumps and spots,
Your lips will go brown and your teeth will all rot.
Your breath will go smelly - it may make you sick,
Not to mention your waistline expanding a bit!
After eating that chocolate with its lack of nutrition,
You will need to visit your local beautician.
But no matter how ugly you may turn out to be
You will always be sweet and beautiful to me.

With Apologies to Frank Herbert and House Atreus:

It is by chocolate alone that I set my mind in motion
It is by the juice of Cocoa that my thoughts acquire speed
My hands begin to shake. The shakes are a warning
It is by chocolate alone that I set my mind in motion.

A Few Minutes 'Fore Jam Time
by Sam Lagrone

A Few Minutes 'Fore Jam Time
By Sam LaGrone

A few minutes 'fore Jam time down in the hall,
swing cats and kittens were having a ball.
They were burnin'' up the old dance floor,
Jumpin', Jivin', Wailin' and ready for more.

I in my Blyers, braces, and suit
Lindyed, Charlestoned and, daydreamed of Zoots.
Swingers focused on leaps and flying feet
felt nothing was wrong , but all was reet.

Then a clamor and bursts of sparks so violent,
echoed as the hot swing music went silent.
A joe had spilled a drink on the jockey table,
and fought the fire as best as he was able.

The DJ leapt and cried "I'm not to blame ---
but the CD Player has burst into flames"!
The gang looked real down and oh so blue
Frank sat down and sighed "What will we do?"

Then Koerner jumped with a phone in his hand,
with a "Fear not brave hoppers I'll get us a band"!
While he flew in a flurry of digits and dial tones galore,
every Jackson and Jane just watched the hall door.

Not before to long there was a rumble and clatter
,and all the hep cats looked up to see to the matter.
Then with a great big cry and a "Heigh de Ho",
The doors parted to reveal the big bad TCO !

Here before us was Tom and his mighty crew,
they set up in a flash . They knew just what to do.
Brent Sessions, Robin, and Julian were there,
ready to raise the roof and straighten some hair.

Plenty of joy to Lindy Hoppers they did bring,
as they rolled out Goodman's Sing, Sing, Sing.
The jam was fabulous, fast, furious and with out equal
The hot tunes got a rise and wail out of the swing dancin' people

Before we knew it the band ended their last,
the busy swing hours just went by so fast.
We protested and yelled we didn't want them to run
the night so far had been so darned fun .

But Tom and the gang had to get on their way
Tom called "Don't worry we'll be back next Friday."
And as he left his voice through the dance hall did ring,
"Remember it don't mean a thing if it ain't got that swing!"

Lindy Haiku

By: Melissa

Hi, I'm Melissa, a swing dancer in Vancouver attending the University of British Columbia. This year I discovered the joys of swing through a class offered by the school Ballroom Dance Club. However, once I was initiated into the world of Lindy (thanks to Blue Lizard, the people who run many of our city's swing events) there was no going back. Who needs the waltz, quickstep, cha-cha, etc...lindy's got it all!. Now that the school term is over, I anticipate a summer of dancing to my heart's content (and legs' exhaustion). Classes were just getting in the way of swing anyhow...

rock step triple step
closed position triple step
I love lindy hop!

a good lead, good song
and open stretch of hardwood
formula for joy

You lead too rough, pal!
Must take defensive action..
"Oops, was that YOUR shin?"

I have others, but I won't subject you to them. I hope you find some of this amusing! Thanks for the great website, it gives me my lindy fix when I can't physically go out dancing.

More Lindy Haiku

By: Lisa Schwartz

Hey Frank -
I would love to get a Lindy Haiku contest together! Here are some (particularly bad) examples:

Smoke gets in your eyes
Lindy at Politiki
Damned windows are sealed

Suddenly flying
Aerials should not surprise
Wear good underwear

Damp sweaty leader
Oh why must you Balboa
Vintage blouse soaking wet

By Hy Cheng Ngo

Two lonely cranes sail through the crimson light,
In silhuoette
And landed,
More graceful than a ballerina's grace.

He nudged her head affectionately,
She kissed him.
He slowly caresses her arm,
She began exploring the gentle curve of his neck...
trailing kisses...

He whispered a sweet melody into her ear,
She bubbled with joyous laughter.

Two bodies entwine before the glowing sunset.
Driven by passions they began to call each other's name.
Faster and faster,
Sweating with rapid, heavy breathing,
Both trying to match the desires for each other.

And then a whirring object slice through the blood red sky.


Dead silence.

Seems like eternity.

He fell to the ground with a heartbreaking thud.
Looked into her dark lovely eyes now swimming in tears,
So beautiful...

With the last of his effort
He gave her a sweet caw:

  • I love you my love,
  • You were the reason of my very existence.
  • Until death do us apart.
  • Fly my love, fly into the heavenly sky.
  • One day, we shall meet again.
  • And this time, not even death can do us apart.

He smiled serenely,
Fighting to keep his increasingly heavy eyelids open.

And then a wail...
And scorching...
As if something was dying of a heart wound.

The sun is sinking in the horizon,
Silently weeping as her life-giving arms retreats.

She turned to the sky,
And flew as her lover commanded.
Oh my brave one...
Flew higher
And higher
And higher
And higher
Her graceful arms never a moment faltering.

Oh how peaceful it is up here...
The stars are slowly twinkling away from their daylight shyness.

And she sw o o p e d down.
Flew lower
And lower
And lower
And lower
Suddenly into the rock beside her beloved.

She gave him a sweet caw:

  • Do not leave yet, my love
  • I am coming too.

She kissed him.

The hunter slowly emerged from the forest,
Bow in one hand and a rope in another.
He kneel down in front of the lovers.

Looks up into the bittersweet sky, and see
Just as the sun's final rays descends into complete darkness.
Just as the two lovers hurry to catch the chariot into perpetual happiness.

He shook his head sadly
As he tied both cranes.
Tonight, his family won't starve.

Sintara Haiku By: D.W. LaGrone

While Frank Sinatra sings "Stormy Weather"
The flies and spiders get along together
Cobwebs fall on an old skipping record...

Rag Doll By: Katrina Garner


I'm just a little ragdoll.
I follow where you please.
I Lindy Hop in sequence
And I jitterbug with ease.

Aerials make my blood surge.
I fly through empty air
I fill the void with motion
And land with energy to spare.

I'm just a little ragdoll.
I do the dance I love.
I boogie-woogie on the floor
Or fly and twist above.

Spinning makes my heart rush.
Swinging blood is in my veins.
Conformity disappears here.
With every move I break the chains.

I'm just a little ragdoll
With passion for my role.
Without me Hepcats lose their charm,
The dance, its very soul.

Let's Dance
by Elisabeth Seng

"Would you care to dance?"
A stranger says to you, smiling
A curious twinkle in those eyes
Both playful and mischievous
How it all began...

Perhaps on the dance floor of a swank night club,
Or maybe in a humble novice class
Starting with those first simple steps,
The thrill of actually following the music's beat
And discovering
The enduring charm of vintage dresses
The sudden allure of suspenders and wing tips
The timeless cool of greats like Glenn Miller
Benny Goodman
And so many others,
Both classic and noveau
Suddenly, you want to learn it all...

The days before this newfound love
Fade into distant memory, and you find yourself
How did you ever live without it?
The rhythms
They follow you
Night and day
(triple step) Haunting you
(rock step)
Every hour
Every minute
In your mind
In your hear
In your feet
At school
At work
On the street
In the car
In your dreams
You know it now,
Can feel it deep down,
It's become a part of you
You've just gotta SWING!

And you realize
The meditative quality of connecting
The magic of synchronizing with your partner
The rush of perfectly executing
What once seemed so impossibly complicated
(Trust is key)
Anticipating every move and -- surprise!
Learning something new
First this way, then that
The temperature rising
Whirling, spinning like a top
Tossed like a ball
Effortlessly sailing through the air
You bounce back, hungry for more
The freedom making you almost gidd
Snapped across the dance floor like a rubber band
Riding the momentum
High on inertia
The energy's so thick, it's palpable
It's pure joy --
Not quite breathless,
You're suddenly swept off your feet
And back, swooping into a dip and
Gently setting you down again
Alas, the song has finished...

And as you slowly walk away,
An entire line of strangers before you, smiling
"Would you care to dance?"
And you finally understand you're
No longer strangers --
Anytime, anywhere,
Anyone who can swing
Let the dance begin...

Virginie, The Princess Of Swing By: Cary Tucker

Virginie, The Princess Of Swing

Virginie, the Princess of Swing,
Would dance like she was on strings!
She spun like a top
To the Lindy Hop
And leaped as if shot from a sling!

And Virginie, the Princess of Swing,
Jammed with the Prince in a ring!
And all at the ball
Were awed and enthralled
As the band played "Sing, sing, sing!"

But Virginie, the Princess of Swing,
Turned down the Prince's diamond ring!
"I am not the sort
To sit and hold court
While servants bring me everything!"

Then Virginie, the Princess of Swing,
Asked to dance with the Prince again!
So the Prince lost his frown,
And tossed off his crown,
And they danced happily in the ring.

Copyright 1999 Cary Tucker,reproduced with permission of the author

Chance To Dance By: Cary Tucker

Chance To Dance

I used to always dance with her,
That woman with the lovely face,
Since only she could follow me
With such exceeding skill and grace.

And only when I danced with her,
Could I lead every move I knew;
My heart would yearn for every turn,
Then sigh when song and dance were through.

But when I could not dance with her,
I missed her smile and warming glance,
Her glowing eyes, and ardent rise
Whenever I asked her to dance.

How I longed to dance with her,
To hold her form within my frame.
But all alone, a cheerless tone
Rang out each time I heard her name.

Remembering how I danced with her,
Has quenched the pain I feel inside:
With every chance I took to dance,
I found such freedom by her side.

Copyright 1999 Cary Tucker,reproduced with permission of the author

The Rose That Blooms In The Evening Light By: Cary Tucker

The Rose That Blooms In The Evening Light

A sharp silhouette in the ballroom door,
A shadowy figure across the floor,
A graceful movement away from the wall,
A glance as she paused to survey the hall,
And then she became a beautiful sight,
A rose that blooms in the evening light.

A glowing gardenia graced her tress,
A garden of flowers grew on her dress.
Such beauty and grace should inspire a chance,
But I hesitated to ask her to dance,
In fearing the thorns I might find that night,
On the rose that blooms in the ev'ning light.

No sweet scent of roses was ever sensed,
Nor petal caressed without risk commenced.
So feeling the pain outweighed by the prize,
Looked into a beautiful pair of eyes,
And asked to have the next dance, if I might,
With the rose that blooms in the ev'ning light.

Copyright 1999 Cary Tucker,reproduced with permission of the author

The Sweetest Thing By: Ashley M. Libby

The Sweetest Thing

The sweetest things
In life take time
The sweetest thing
Is knowing that you
Have some one to love
Who will love you back
Who will be there for you anytime
The sweetest thing
You may ever know
Is knowing that you made
A difference in the world
The sweetest thing
Is the relaxed feeling
You get after hard days of work
The sweetest thing
Is what ever you make it to be

Copyright 2004 Ashley M. Libby,reproduced with permission of the author

We're glad to publish all poetry that isn't obviously pornographic. We frown on verse with religious or political themes. In any case, the editorial choice is ours. Submit a poem of any length that will fit within the body of an e-mail. Prepare your poem and click here: Lindy Week in Review Poetry Editor. Please write "Poetry Submission" in the "Subject" box.

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