The Nature of The Dance

Mark Nepo remains one of my favorite writers. His poems. His essays. His books. He writes of transitions, struggle, honesty, and the fundamental, yet profound state of being alive. His writings are not flowery to me. They aren’t all about ascendence. There is realness in them that pulls something out from within me that is already there — “the act of being who we are is at the heart of staying well.”

Marp Nepo is also a cancer survivor. Though I imagine this poem to be just a bit about that, it reaches to many realms of human journey, doesn’t it.


The Nature of the Dance
Mark Nepo

Death pushed me to the edge.
Nowhere to back off. And
to the shame of my fears,
I danced with abandon
in his face. I never
danced so free.

And Death backed off,
the way dark backs off
a sudden burst of flame.
Now there’s nothing left
but to keep dancing.

It is the way
I would have chosen
had I been born
three times
as brave.