Wednesday, 23 July 2014

'Return of the Goddess' By Edward C Whitmont- quoting Colin Turnbull, in Africa, with the pygmies : From Nicci Attfield

One night in particular will always live for me, because that night I think I learned just how far we civilized human beings have drifted from reality.  The moon was full, so that the dancing had gone on for longer than usual.  Just before going to sleep, I was standing outside my hut when I heard a curious noise from the nearby children's bopi (playground).  This surprised me, because at nighttime, the pygmies generally never set foot outside the main camp.  I wandered over to see what it was.

There, in the tiny clearing, splashed with silver, was the sophisticated Kenge, clad in black cloth, adorned with leaves, with a flower stuck in his hair.  He was all alone, dancing around and singing softly to himself as he gazed up at the tree-tops.

Now Kenge was the biggest flirt for miles, so, after watching for a while, I came into the clearing and asked, jokingly, why he was dancing alone.  He stopped, turned slowly around and looked at me as though I was the biggest fool he had ever seen; and he was plainly surprised by my stupidity.

"But I'm not dancing alone," he said.  "I am dancing with the forest, dancing with the moon." Then with the utmost unconcern, he ignored me and continued his dance of love and life.

By contrast, the author considers this testimony by the elderly Yeats:

Seventy years I have lived
No ragged beggar-man
Seventy years I have lived
Seventy years man and boy
And I have never danced for joy.

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