Sammy Davis Jr. tap dances through heaven

sammy davis feat

At 3, you win a talent contest.
The child God made of
God’s longing to dance.

Then vaudeville,
the Will Mastin Trio.
At 7, a movie. A
small boy becoming
a small man flash-tapping
his way out of Harlem.

Shuffle ball change
triple Cincinnati
double time

At 29, you lose an eye,
nearly your life, and
ever after that curious glass
orb fixed and impassive but still

every mortal cell
across the miles,
through the years.

You do not stop dancing
you cannot stop dancing
having let God make of you
some emphatic art still

sending back to us
that staccato summons,
the call to practice to
ceaselessly practice to
become what God had in mind.

Your impeccable feet finding
heaven’s floor, tapping like
Morse code the imperative
to make of our human lives
some small but exquisite

-.. .- -. -.-. .

Reminding us:
Here it is,
right here,
right now.

Here: Your life.

So, dance. Oh, dance.



The video clip is taken from the American Masters production Sammy Davis, Jr.: I’ve Gotta be Me,  a profile of the multi-talented artist now airing on PBS.  



  1. Perpetua · · Reply

    Your post reminds me of the song Lord of the Dance ‘dance, dance, wherever you may, I am the Lord of the dance, said he ….


    1. Lovely! Thanks for sharing that.


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