Dancing Mania and Cicada Shells

My son has begun collecting cicada shells, as I did at his age, hunting for the hollow husks on the coarse bark of evergreens, seeking out the other-worldly-exoskeleton as they hang beetling in abandonment of self— Brendan’s fingers roughly tug at the papyrus remains, almost tenderly, casting the carcass aside in a shallow bowl—
dancing mania: a hysteria among the people of Europe, the Rhineland, figures grouping in circles to leap and prance in spontaneity, around churches and streets of the cities— dancing to excise demons, cast out evils, like the mad women dancing after Bacchus, forever moving, gesticulating their bodies for hours (Barbara W. Tuchman, A Distant Mirror: The Calamitous 14th Century, 334).


Popular Posts