Beth Camp Historical Fiction

Wednesday, October 09, 2013

October 9: Tango in San Telmo

She sketches a circle
with the tip of her shoe,
an invitation.
He nods his head,
accepts with a bow.
He presses a button 
on a boom box.
The tinny music of tango
fills the air
to the delight of passersby 
from the neighborhood
and tourists who have come
to San Telmo in Buenos Aires
to see in these dancers
those moments 
we now remember from our youth.

Tango dancers, San Telmo
(Camp 2009)
She arches her back;
he twirls her around,
their steps pause
and repeat,
their knees and ankles brush,
an intricate embrace
of precision and passion;
her head thrown back,
the music, the music revolves
a rondo,
and we are lost again
in the moment.

San Telmo, Buenos (Camp 2009)
Today's prompt from OctPoWriMo asks us to think of music and to write a lyric poem.

Today has been a busy day, with laundry, doctor appointments, and a sweet grandchild, BUT the music and the dancers I remember most clearly -- that is past those early days of rock and roll back in the late 1950s and early 1960s -- is the music I found in San Telmo, an old barrio in Buenos Aires, where I lost my heart to tango.

Read more about the tango on Wikipedia.

Read what others have written, inspired by music at OctPoWriMo.

To see a 21-second snippet from the dancers in San Telmo, click on the video below.


  1. You had me right in the scene, and I felt like I was dancing, Beth! Beautiful. xoA

  2. This really got me wanting to Tango, Beth. Perfect. X

  3. You have brought out the passion and romance of the dance in your writing.

  4. I really liked this poem and especially the juxtaposition of this very classical idea of a dance, impassioned as the tango is...with the boom-box. I wasn't expecting that in the first stanza because I was already in dance-space...and it was a bit of a startle reaction (this is good) to have that reminder of the modern times in this snap-shot poem about the dance. I really did feel like I was there. Loved it.

  5. Wow! We will be sharing this in our Tango newspaper - Saludos!

  6. A perfect mix of words, motion, music, and visuals.