and yevgeny said, you can't not dance

Those weddings in wartime!The deceiving comfort!The dishonesty of words about living. / Sonorous snowy roads. / In the wind's wicked teeth I hurry down them / to a hasty wedding at the next village. / With worn-out tread and hair down in my eyes / I go inside, I famous for my dancing, / into the noisy house. / In there tensed up with nerves and with emotion / among a crowd of friends and family, / called up, distraught, the bridegroom / sitting beside his Vera, his bride. / Will in a few days put his greatcoat on / and set out coated for the war. / Will see new country, carry a rifle. / May also drop if he is hit. / His glass is fizzing but he can't drink it. / The first night may be the last night. / And sadly eyeing me and bitter-minded / he leans in his despair across the table / and says, 'Come on then, dance.' / Drinks are forgotten. Everyone looks round. / Out I twirl to begin. Clap of my feet. / Shake. / Scrape the floor with my toe-cap. / Whistle. Whistle. Slap hands. / Faster, leaping ceiling-high. / Moving the posters pinned up on the walls: / HITLER KAPUT / Her eyes streaming with tears. / Already soaked in sweat and out of breath - 'Dance!' / They cry out in despair, and I dance.

. . .

When I get home my feet are log-heavy: / some drunken people from another wedding / turn up behind me. Mother must let me go. / The scene again: I see it, and again / beside the edge of a trailing tablecloth / I squat down to dance. / She weeping / and her friends weeping. I frightened / don't feel like dancing, but

you can't not dance.

"Weddings" by Yevgeny Yevtushenko