Two Left Feet: a poem about envy and mental illness

Annette Charles and John Travolta in Grease
Annette Charles and John Travolta in Grease | Source

You Can't Judge a Book by Its Cover

With all the mass shootings and bombings in America and elsewhere in recent years it makes me realise how widespread mental illness is and that you can't judge people by appearances. Beneath that sheep's clothing could be a wolf ready to pounce.

Mental illness is not something you can easily recognise, except for the most extreme cases. It isn't likely you will pass someone on the street or in the supermarket and think, "Oh, wow! That person is mentally unstable."

Although this poem uses dancing as an analogy, it is not really about dancing. It is trying to bring awareness of what may not be readily apparent but lurking in someone's mind, and we never know what may set off that ticking time bomb. It could be the smallest thing that breaks the camel's back.

Source

Two Left Feet

by John Hansen © 2014


As the band begins to play

The couples take the floor,

Smiling dancers twirl and sway,

I watch from near the door.


The foxtrot looks so very fine,

The waltz just seems to flow,

I tap my foot in perfect time

To a dance I'll never know.


The dancers' footwork so alive,

I watch them move in awe.

A smiling girl asks me to jive,

But I say my feet are sore


Source

Although I'm eager to join in

To the addictive dancing beat,

It's a goal that I will never win,

For I have two left feet.


Everyone is having fun

As I watch on all alone.

Sometimes I wish I had a gun,

Make my jealousy be known.

The Tango
The Tango | Source

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Comments 56 comments

bravewarrior profile image

bravewarrior 2 years ago from Central Florida

I love to dance and love watching people dance. Too bad you have two left feet. Dancing is fun and very expressive.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

Haha Shauna, it isn't about me. Thanks for your comment Jo. Keep on dancing.


Ericdierker profile image

Ericdierker 2 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

Very fun.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thanks Eric.


FlourishAnyway profile image

FlourishAnyway 2 years ago from USA

Good poem, John. Some of us do have two left feet but just dance anyway.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

Yes flourish, that's true. Thanks.


billybuc profile image

billybuc 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

I can't dance worth a lick, but it was fun reading about it. Nice one, John.


MizBejabbers profile image

MizBejabbers 2 years ago from Arkansas

What a fun read! My dad had two left feet and a tin ear. Glad I inherited from my Mama, although I'm not as good as she was.


The Examiner-1 profile image

The Examiner-1 2 years ago

Wonderful work with the words John. It was truly awesome. The pictures were a great addition too. The video said it was not available in this country so I just went to Google.

Kevin


DDE profile image

DDE 2 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

Dancing is one my best pleasures I always take action when in such events. I simply enjoyed the great videos and the way you expressed this poem so lightly and also with a certain strength to it.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

Hi Bill, I used to dance a bit but wasn't much good at it. Thanks for reading.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

Your poor Dad, MizBejabbers. Yes you are lucky you didn't inherit that tin ear. Glad you enjoyed.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thanks for the kind comment Kevin. Glad you enjoyed. Sorry about the video, if anyone else has a problem I'll have to add a different version.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

Glad you like to dance Devika and that this poem appealed to you. Kevin said the video didn't work in his country so happy it did for you.


The Examiner-1 profile image

The Examiner-1 2 years ago

It was no problem John, I just took the name to Google under YouTube.

Kevin


Eric Flynn profile image

Eric Flynn 2 years ago from Providence, Rhode Island

Sex and dancing are often thought of in a similar light, it's interesting that the jealousy and violence come in to play.

EWF


truthfornow profile image

truthfornow 2 years ago from New Orleans, LA

Wanting to join in but not being able to is something that many can relate to. Nicely done.


Dana Tate profile image

Dana Tate 2 years ago from LOS ANGELES

Two of my favorite movies " Dirty dancing and Grease " I love to dance and watch other's dance. Unfortunately I'm not the best dancer in the world but I try anyway. Thanks for sharing.


Harishprasad profile image

Harishprasad 2 years ago from India

How bizarre that something we are not adept at but feeling so let down by the wonderful performance of some experts ! The world is full of possibilities, anything and everything beyond our imagination. Through a depiction of dance, you have told a fact. To see a charming performance, some are entertained, some are pleased and a few minds are agitated for nothing. Maybe it is perversity of mind,wrong perception or lack of ability. John, you always weave something interesting, curious or ideal in each of your poems. I loved reading it and yes, paused for some moments to reflect upon the real I port of it. Beautiful work, voted up.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

Yes Eric, so true they are similar, and all is not always as it appears.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thanks truthfornow, yes it can be a problem with almost every endeavour. There is always someone who is jealous or resentful because they can't take part.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

I agree Dana, great movies. I wish I could dance better too. Thanks for reading.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

Hello Hrishprasad, I love your comment. Dance is a beautiful art form and I tried to make the poem and photos appealing, but their was an underlying darker message that everyone does not see all things the same way for whatever reason, and envy and jealousy are strong feelings that can emerge in almost every situation. Thanks for the vote up.


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 2 years ago from Shelton

Jodah, loved it LOL I have two left feet.. the pics were enjoyable movies I enjoyed just like your poem :)


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thanks Frank, glad there is two of us...lol. Glad you enjoyed this.


always exploring profile image

always exploring 2 years ago from Southern Illinois

Jodah i knew it couldn't be about you. You are too talented not to be able to dance. I love to dance. My mother once told me that i came out patting my toes.lol..I loved the movies you featured. I miss Patrick Swayze.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

Hi Ruby, I miss Patrick Swayze too. Loved his movies. I don't dance much anymore, but used to enjoy a jive. I guess I'd pick some of the dances up again but may step on a few toes at first...lol.


savvydating profile image

savvydating 2 years ago

Don't feel bad. I can relate. The funny thing is that I managed to produce a son who is a professional dancer. Well, he didn't get it from me! Fun poem!


travmaj profile image

travmaj 2 years ago from australia

Two left feet can be a problem (especially when faced with Grease or Dirty Dancing.) I felt the last two lines of your poem were telling though, I sensed more than the inability to dance. Perhaps I'm reading more into it than necessary.

I saw Grease in Melbourne a few months ago - great show.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

Great to see a new face savvy dating. Thanks for the kind comment. Sometimes you have to wonder where your kids get their talents from don't you?


lisavanvorst profile image

lisavanvorst 2 years ago from New Jersey

Great poem, the pictures you used brought back nice memories.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

Hi travmaj, thank you for your insightful comment. No, you found the subtle message in there. The narrator is suffering a disturbed mind as well as/ or because of having two left feet. There are many people out there who are on the verge of doing just what he is thinking for many different reasons, and almost no one notices until it's too late.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thank you Lisa, glad you enjoyed this. I used those pics because I knew a lot of people love those two movies.


BlossomSB profile image

BlossomSB 2 years ago from Victoria, Australia

An interesting topic for a poem and one that many can relate to. Enjoyed it!


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thank you so much Blossom. Glad you enjoyed this.


Jane Arden 2 years ago

Me too John. Two left feet. Love the pictures, reminded me of those fabulous film when I drooled over John Travolta and Patrick Swayze. Such a lovely poem, again as usual. :)


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

Hey Jane,(Leslie) great to see you again. Glad you enjoyed this poem and it brought back memories. Maybe people with two left feet can dance well together...shall we? :)


Jane Arden 2 years ago

It's a date. LOL


Rebecca Furtado profile image

Rebecca Furtado 2 years ago from Anderson, Indiana

Ok my blonde interpetation the man is crippled by jealously . Maybe someone else is dancing with his beloved. Ok , if it is not mental why the gun stuff. A not too well adjusted disabled man. He is near the door why? Does not wish to be seen.


teaches12345 profile image

teaches12345 2 years ago

I wish I would have taken dance lessons when young. Now, I am merely an observer since my feet do not go where I need them to as I dance on the floor. Enjoyed your poem.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

Yes Rebecca, he definitely has problems, and that's the point. A large portion of the population have mental and physical problems that aren't obvious and not enough's being done to help them. It's one of the reason there are so many mass shootings in the USA. In this case the guy is jealous as well. One girl offered to dance with her and he turned her down.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

Hi teaches. I had dance lessons when I was young and my feet still don't go where I want...haha. Thanks for reading, glad you enjoyed.


joedolphin88 profile image

joedolphin88 2 years ago from north miami FL

Love dancing fortunate to not have two left feet, really enjoyed article always loved dancing personally


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thanks for reading Joe, dancing is a great activity to do for recreation and fitness. It helps if you don't have two left feet though.


joedolphin88 profile image

joedolphin88 2 years ago from north miami FL

very true I've seen people make fools of themselves sadly not on purpose


ubanichijioke profile image

ubanichijioke 2 years ago from Lagos

I love the poem. It's sad to see others do things but you can't join in the act. Sweet and sad tale. good job


ubanichijioke profile image

ubanichijioke 2 years ago from Lagos

I love the poem. It's sad to see others do things but you can't join in the act. Sweet and sad tale. good job


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thanks ubanichijoke, much appreciated. Yes it is sad.


Monis Mas profile image

Monis Mas 2 years ago

I enjoy watching "dancing" movies, but I got two left feet as well :-)


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

Well Monis Mas, just keep tapping along to the music in the movies. Thanks for reading.


carrie Lee Night profile image

carrie Lee Night 2 years ago from Northeast United States

I love this poem :). Great work.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thanks so much for the kind comment Carrie. Much appreciated.


Paula Atwell profile image

Paula Atwell 2 years ago from Cleveland, OH

I remember when Dirty Dancing came out! Watched it in the theater. :)


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

Yes Paula, that was a true classic, and timeless.


lambservant profile image

lambservant 2 years ago from Pacific Northwest

I can dance with the best of them in the privacy of my own living room, but put me around people and I am a rhythmic and agile as an elephant with three legs. Baffling.

I loved this poem and the images.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

Haha lambservant...no sorry to laugh I am like that myself, some sort of complex about doing things in public I guess. Glad you liked this poem and the pics thanks for reading and commenting.

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