Arguments, some say, are exercises in primitive rudiments
Where the clench of the jaw and the glint of an eye
Telegraphs more than the native tongue could have sent
And the rhythm of the palaver produces a dance that writhes.
The bonfire stoked high with opinion’s choicest logs
Casts a radiating heat that is powerfully and unavoidably felt
As the dancers of debate whirl and spin amidst the swirling fog
The age old ritual continues long into a starless night—as each teller is also telt.
Flashing teeth and protruding tongue follow the honored rite
Dust clouds follow the stamping feet as do the flailing hands the arms
Each frenzied dancer seeking a glint of light to make his polished spear bright
Step for step and chant for chant the two dancers match each other’s charm
Soon the sun will awaken and the glowing fire will succumb to a brighter light
The then weary and dust laden dancers will cease their writhing performances
But for now they refuse to let the other dance alone in this dark night
Onlookers watch the contest, choosing sides with this or that artful stepper, from fences
Where might these dancers be—in some secluded jungle clearing?
Where do these sounds of vying voices fill the air—in far away places?
No, indeed, the dance of the argument is not so far away or hiding
The dancers, the glowing fire and the chanting wear many present day familiar faces.
Jlg – 06
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