George J. Dance

The April Featured Poet is George J. Dance

Please feel free to email George at: georgedance04@yahoo.ca



I remember the day
the town clock stopped;
how could I ever forget?

It was a Sunday in early June,
a day to laze
on the front porch,
to absorb the sunshine,
the trees and flowers,
and the life around me:

Tom Franklin in his driveway,
fixing his car again, 
head invisible like an ostrich;

Mrs. Rose and Mrs. Santini,
in another spirited
sidewalk discussion,
two mouths and four hands
working double-time in tandem;

young Johnny Scott
on the new-mown grass of his lawn,
playing frisbee with his pup;

the clock spire
behind and above it all,
the hands of the clock
creeping towards noon.
At the stroke of noon, no bell
but gnashing and grinding
and sparks from the tower,
a shockwave
like I’d never felt,
then total silence.
I still see that day,
I must see that day
for here I am, still on my porch.
I cannot leave, or stand,
or turn away:
I cannot move.
I cannot close my eyes
or even blink.
All I can do
is keep staring, keep watching
a June morning,
a man with head buried,
two women with mouths and hands wide,
a boy with an arm outstretched,
and a dog—oh, the dog!—
two meters in the air,
half turned, jaws snapping
at a green disc always out of reach
and over everything, the clock,
its own hands forever raised.


We’d dress as ghosts or devils once a year
to run and yell like vandals home-to-home,
high on the sugar we’d take by threats of harm
we’d chant at every door—but there was no fear,
for we played out roles from long-forgotten darks
when noxious, flesh-bound demons stalked, who’d kill
or maim at whim—those who’d evade their rule
confined like sheep, asleep behind bars and locks.

My children’s children dress and do the like,
but chaperoned (kids don’t go out alone)
and only in the twilight; when it’s night,
parent and child are locked within the home
because “It’s just not safe these days” —a fact
so calmly noted: Demon-time is back.

George J. Dance is the author of Doggerel and other Doggerel (2015), Penny or Penny’s Hat (2013), and the upcoming Logos and other Logoi (2020). He lives in Toronto, Ontario, where he maintains Penny’s Poetry Blog and Penny’s Poetry Pages wiki.