Pulse: When Dancing is Political

This poem is written by Rabbi Bradley Artson and was presented by Rabbi Steven Rubenstein at the Interfaith Service of Prayer and Remembrance in Detroit hosted by the Episcopal Diocese of Michigan and the Southeast Michigan Synod, ELCA,  June 18, 2016. It is shared with permission.


Pulse: When Dancing Is Political


There’s really only one way to dance: Hold your courage close to your heart,

Hold your courage close to your heart,

as you step toward the music,

trusting that a kindred spirit,

will smile at the chance to hold you tight.

Then you sway to the music,

and swirl new love into the world.

Loving hearts pulse.


Pounding hearts can thrill with love and hope,

or they can collapse into chilling terror and hate.


Why does difference make some broken people ache?

Are they so fragile,

that sweet love makes their twisted hearts hurt?

The mere cadence of freedom makes their hearts race

so that only the stillness of murder can restore their smothering calm.

Raging hearts also pulse.


The burst of bullets, assault of terror

the gun, automatic, and our hearts once again go numb.


Brothers and sisters,

we too have a pulse,

so we must rejoin the dance:

circling our love to embrace all humanity,

a choreography more persistent and persuasive

then the bursts of automatic fire

that assaults our schools, churches, mosques, clubs, theaters and homes.

We shall be that righteous troupe

Whirling together our resistance to

terror and hate, and to indifference.


We must dance, and lobby, and legislate,

until it is safe for us all to dance.


Pulse: that’s the sound of your heart alive.