March 12, 2016

She surely was the Golden Girl,
With sparkling duds and hair aswirl;
With her long legs and dancing feet,
She felt the distant drummer’s beat.

In concert hall or dim canteen,
Her song and laugh would steal the scene;
Hushed house or to raucous roar,
She’d traipse and tap across the floor.

The fandango and the samba,
The can-can or the reel,
The cha-cha or the mamba,
Her moves with toe and heel,

The tango and the conga,
The salsa or the shake,
Her body’s lissome shimmy
Would keep the men awake.

Not one to wait for things “just right,”
For her ‘twas always opening night,
For her no dreams of “The Ideal,”
Which oft’, she knew, obscures the real;

She never cast a backwards glance
When it was time to sing and dance:
Props misplaced, the script unclear,
The piano tinny, the pay austere;

The director sloshed, cue cards gone,
The show, says she, will still go on.
Kathleen will watch the setting sun
At peace away from dance hall din,

When the goddess gig is nearly done,
She’ll not ask what might have been;
Instead, with a last twirl and twist,
She’ll laugh and dance into the mist;

We’ll smile a bit, and we will cry,
The curtain’s down, Sweet Girl.
Oh, to have lived a life so bold,
With precious memories left to hold;

Not blaming fate, or cursing cost
Of wasted years and youth we lost.
Congregations shout, “Encore!”
Kneeling, as they pray for more;

The tragedy of vanity:
To trick or cheat reality;
Existence is a one-shot deal,
Not a rehearsal, no appeal.

Dreamers travel in a trance
And never find each day’s romance;
They pine for heaven and sing the blues,
(The dancer has no time to lose).

To be (she asks) just to survive?
Awaken now to thrill and thrive!
Shake a leg, escape your cage,
Ready or not, step on the stage.

“Curtain’s up!” (we hear Kathleen)
Footlights beckon, don’t hide unseen;
Audience seated, it wants to know
Who you are in your solo show.

Every morn the spotlight sun
Focuses on “Number One”
When you choose to take a chance
And hit the boards and start your dance.

Your drama is unique and new,
Only you can be like you;
You are, says she, who you are:
The Star.

This poem is to the memory of Kathleen Neimer, the mother of my friend Kathi Assar, Ph.D. Kathleen died on November 9, 2015. A great lady. She was a former Vaudeville dancer and lover of life.

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