Wednesday, 9 November 2011

"Manon" poem

I have been haunted since the weekend by that heart-breaking performance of "Manon".  To anyone who isn't into ballet, or isn't into MacMillan, or isn't into doomed love stories, it must seem insane that I have taken myself to see this particular ballet no less than four times in the last year.  But MacMillan's narrative works are like the Shakespeare of ballet; endlessly nuanced, their understanding of psychology and character so deep and layered, one can keep on seeing them and always get something new. If I could afford it, I would go back again before the present run finishes; indeed, if I weren't going to tea at a friend's place tonight I could happily go back and see Marianela Nuñez again.  She was wonderful.  As were both the guys, and the whole cast, and the whole damn' thing.  I suppose there may come a day one day when I have seen enough "Manon"s, but that day is not now.

Lovers (MacMillan’s “Manon”)

When he first looks across at her
Shy and yet radiant, turning away,
The whole tragedy is there
Implicit in that moment.
My heart begins to break again
For these two foolish innocents
Who touch, delighting, unawares;
Too far apart to meet, though deep in love.

She is all happy brightness, full
Of certainty; accepts
This adoration as her only due,
Expects the world to be her slave.
He is the honest devotee
Who’ll never waver in his faith
Not even in the face of death.
His goddess is no constant star,
Though brilliant as a meteor.
He must burn with her as she falls.

Neither can see the other’s way;
The other path, untreadable.
The dancing steps must break apart,
And the heartbroken end ensues
Inevitable as every loss.
Hurtling into despair and death
All of us crying with their fall
All of our loves consumed with theirs.

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