USO Dance: Colorado Springs, 1944
Our sliding feet whisper on the dance floor
Like a sentry's challenge in the night.
Dancing against the circle of the clock,
Dancing in the dark,
Time like the dark we cannot penetrate,
Time flowing to a port where we embark.
The wire is taut that sets the booby trap.
A general in his jeep rides past the troops.
Firmness of command is in his glance.
Let's face the music. And dance.
It's time to dance, a flexing at the knees,
A scent of powder, dancing cheek to cheek
And palm to palm, and step by step
The heart begins to freeze...
A woman's body's what your spirit asks for,
Your heart constricted to a nub of ice,
Your life constricted to the rolling dice;
Stage light reflected from the polished floor,
A muted trumpet flashes yellow light,
The drummer holds us to his 4/4 beat,
Keeping time, time, time—
Back from night attacks,
Back to the USO for coffee, snacks,
For borrowed girls, patinas of romance,
Melting into music, we dance.
Tonight the famous actress sings
A slow, insinuating tune;
Crowding the mike she croons
No matter what the future brings,
So close we feel her breath upon our cheek,
Close as a rifle stock against the cheek
Or scuff of footsteps on the nighttime wind.
We're dreaming of a safe and easy wound
As time flows overseas
Bearing A. B. Carr to the Hürtgen Forest where
An A.P. shell bursts downward from the trees.
Sing, sing, sing, sing,
The husky voice preserving us from harm,
Dancing into the storm
In suntan uniform
The Timberwolf Division's on its way.
We board the ship, a blazing summer's day
And ship out into the violent dark.
A sniper's got Bill Johnson in his sight.
Let's dance tonight.
Shipping out upon the wide, wide sea
Now is the time to pray.
Pray for friends who are gone forever,
The gun crew swept away in the river,
The boys who broke, pinned at the river's edge,
The boys who fell to raise a bridge;
And pray for boys who died in later wars,
Who died world-wide
Leaving the dance to ship out on the sea,
Crossing the waves to where the future lies,
Where life and death's pure chance,
In silent convoy under azure skies
Where dolphins leap the waves in dolphin dance.