The widest range of historical and cinema images for editorial and creative use
Advanced search >>

A Conga of Ballerinas


Thirty of them – Ava the second – girls

three to five years, in tutus paler than

boiled shrimps, shoulder-straps, flesh of their shoulders

baby-dimpled. I hear the long line tinkle

with nine-carat earrings, bracelets from Argos,

the row of lights down the church-hall catch gold.


What will their lives be in the century

that’s theirs now? My niece sent me this image

that predators would click on if they could:

repeat-flesh, flock of rosy flamingos –

is there a reserve of self-preservation

to keep bright faces still enthused and safe?


Linked in the Conga, they snake with the crowd,

and if these girls, novices, turned from flesh,

no longer pink confectionery on

the outside or the inside, the race would

end, wouldn’t it, no more heart-ache or babies?

Why does the line – Ava’s broad grin – seem sad?



© Dilys Wood

Picture 12016636, design by Tess Hines, 2018, image copyright Mary Evans / Tess Hines Designs



Dilys Wood founded Second Light Network of Women Poets in 1994. Her collections are Women Come to a Death (Katabasis, 1997) and Antarctica (Greendale Press, 2008).  She has co-edited Second Light’s ARTEMISpoetry and the following anthologies of women’s poetry: Fanfare (2015), Her Wings of Glass (2014), Images of Women (Arrowhead Press, in association with Second Light, 2006), My Mother Threw Knives (Second Light Publications, 2006), Making Worlds (Headland with Second Light, 2003) and Parents (Enitharmon Press, 2000).  ARTEMISpoetry is a bi-annual poetry magazine in which all poetry, reviews and articles are by women solely concerned with women’s poetry.