Poem 27 ± November 27, 2016

Stephen J. Williams

What can the dancer say,
moving with his arms that way,
And with those legs and hips, that we,
In our dumb bodies, say with tongue and lips?

He says that in the movement of my being,
this breath, this life, “I am.” —And no one,
even he who soon might take me,
may be the dance I am.


Bruce Fentham died of AIDS in 1993. He was a dancer in Melbourne. Near death and unable to walk, his last performance was as the hood ornament of the car that led the 1993 Fringe Festival parade. See The Age 25 October 1992 (page 7), and 8 September 1993 (page 15).


Portrait of Stephen J. Williams (detail) by Margaret Gold

Portrait of Stephen J. Williams (detail) by Margaret Gold

Stephen J. Williams lives in St Kilda (Victoria, Australia) and has published writing and images in many literary magazines and newspapers. He has been the recipient of the University of Melbourne’s John Masefield Prize, the Fellowship of Australian Writers’ Anne Elder Prize and John Shaw Neilson Prize, and the Association for Australian Literature’s Mary Gilmore Award.