Dana's Page Header with a few tiny pix from her past theatre projects - Left to Right - Wendy from Angry Housewives, a 1998 headshot, Mrs. Mullin from Carousel, Sybil Birling from An Inspector Calls, and a 2008 headshot
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Dana Rice's Poetry Collection

Poem 1: Laden Shoes and Wings
Maybe realizing one's talents isn't so weird. This piece is a metaphor for what happened to me while taking Meisner-based acting training and The Artist's Way creativity course at the same time. Art awakens life. There are two more sections so far, that will be coming to this page someday. :-}

Poem 2: If The Continents In Me
The nation looks at itself. Or, an all-American kid ponders the collection of branches of the melting pot family tree.

Poem 3: The Singing Baby
Watching my baby nephew appreciate music.


Laden Shoes and Wings
© Dana Rice

Walking through miles of sand,
Trudging, struggling,
sinking with each step
Then through miles of swamp
Knee-deep in mud and water
Beyond exhaustion

Then through blinding snow
Waist-deep in drifts
Inching along
Following a drive
I can no longer identify

Standing on a cliff, arms wide
Ready to fly, yet shackled
To rock behind me
My feet aching to jump,
Yet too heavy
From accumulated sand
and mud and ice

Finding moments of freedom
From the shackles
Levitating here on the cliff,
   My greatest shackle the belief
That flying is impossible

Feeling wings grow
On my back,
Slowly from small nubs
Alarming at first,
Not knowing what they are
Not knowing whom to ask
Then, seeing them growing
On my friends as well

Coping with walking in the world
With new wings –
Giant, still wet,
And useless for flight,
Unwieldy, uncertain
Yet obvious to the casual observer,
Who looks at me quite differently now

The wings are sensitive
To forces I’m not accustomed
to noticing
Slight deviations in temperature,
Air current,
Flows of energy and spirit
As they dry and unfold

I try to see they are
art unpainted,
stories untold,
songs unsung,
characters not yet written
or portrayed
risks not yet considered
paths not yet forged
Creation not yet made.

Life is reborn in these wings
I don’t fit into my old life with them
As they dry,
And begin to take shape,
I am occasionally,
Without notice,
Suddenly airborne.

What concerns me most
is how little that frightens me,
how easily I take flight
and then set down and keep going,
as if it were an everyday normal
thing to do.

Perhaps it is.

Copyright September, 1997    Dana Lynne' Rice

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If The Continents In Me

© Dana Rice

If the Irish in me cannot celebrate the freedom
to own a piece of land and learn whatever she pleases, why is she here?
If the African in me cannot express her mind and her heart, why is she here?
If the Jew in me cannot claim her ancestry and heritage, why is she here?
If the Cherokee in me cannot claim her destiny
and birthright to live in her own homeland, why is she here?
If the British in me cannot claim her victory
in the conquest of this land, why is she here?

I ask my African ancestor,
how did you manage to keep your mind and your heart quiet?
I am singing and drawing and dancing the lessons of your bravery.
I ask my Jewish ancestor,
how often did your heart break in keeping your heritage secret?
I am singing and teaching the lessons of marginalization and rising above bigotry.
I ask my Cherokee ancestor,
where did your soul live, when you lost your ancestral home?
My soul wanders still, looking for home.
I tell stories of exile within the nation in which I was born.
I ask my Irish ancestor,
why did you come here looking for freedom, and then perpetuate hate and terrorism?
I smash the urge you bring to me to respond to bigotry with bigotry in return.
I tell the stories affirming all people,
without needing to blame another tribe for my problems.
It's only recently I've noticed the resemblance between the IRA, the KKK,
the Roman armies, the British armies, and other terrorist groups.
I ask my British ancestor,
how much a conquest is it, to have all of the rest of my family tree hiding behind you?
I let you shamelessly claim smug victory and responsibility for my existence
because you and the Irish have made me so pale.

My heart is laden with the weight of conflict between my ancestors,
  The weight of victimization between my ancestors,
The weight of blame between my ancestors,
     Yet some of them must have loved one another.
I cannot be descended solely from abuse and conquest,
  From violence alone.

There must have been love.
There must have been love.

I am descended from many tribes, and only one can I name.
I do not know the name of my Jewish tribe, nor if there were more than one.
I do not know the name of my African tribe, nor if there were more than one.
I can't even name the country my African ancestors came from.
I do not know the names of my Irish clans, nor how many there were.
I do not know the names of my British clans, nor their ethnic origins.
Some Scotch, some Welch, but beyond that, nothing...
I know my American tribe only by name.
I do not know the names of any of the rest of the hidden branches of my family tree,
it is so recently populated by those passing as full European descent,
under the regimes of various groups of terrorists.

I am culturally disconnected from all of my peoples,
so I find community with any people who share my interests.
My heart is shared with anyone who walks with the good in the universe,
regardless of the origins of their genepool.
Instantly, unconditionally,
as soon as I recognize them
as members of my tribe.

Copyright July, 1998     Dana Lynne' Rice

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