Intriguing, unusual and slightly nightmarish… the photos by Phyllis Galembo of masks and rituals are an anthropologist’s treasure trove. Anthony Desmond over at dVerse Poets is encouraging us to use one of those pictures as a prompt for exploring our own masks and underlying boldness. For me, the image below evokes an annual Romanian New Year’s tradition known as Capra – The Goat Dance.
‘Vine capra, vine capra!’
We waited in vain, my cousins and I. There was no goat dance for us that night.
They came in the morning, in the ice-encrusted dawn hours.
‘It gets earlier every year,’ grumbled Uncle Ilie.
But he shrugged on his sheepskin coat and went to open the gates.
The yard filled with men, stamping, drumming.
A squeaky accordeon player stood a little aside to avoid the kicks,
the prancing, the clattering jaws of the goat.
They spoke words we could not fathom, sense now lost, left only rhyme.
Caught up in frenzy of voices, we waved our arms like windmills, tried to catch
the gauzy frills or greasy kid fur,
tried to match it jump for jump,
little knowing that the devils we were chasing
were far too deep within.