Burnt out ends of smoky days, the stale cold smell of morning
A street lamp dies, another night is over, another day is dawning
I dare myself to live up to her. We sat in Row E and I loved the white cat most of all but she was a mirage, difficult to picture. Laurie I could always see, her scrawny legs and her voice everywhere in the theater. Listening to her on the cassette, remembering a song about remembering, remembering my first spontaneous theater tears. Little girl in a leotard, little cat-dancer with a curtain sash for a tail, will soon go to ballet class and cry for Mendelssohn, will get comp tickets and laugh for Lane, will sneak in the stage door and shiver for Cumming, will put on tutus, tiaras, ugly tights, whatever they ask, will be blinded by the lights, will dance for money, will dance for nothing, will stand in the spotlight on a thirty-five million dollar stage for a few counts of eight every night, will remember all her corrections and notes and mentors and rivals and inspirations and soon it will be morning. I dare myself to forget that it’s silly to dress up like a cat and dance around. I dare myself to remember how to be “like a flower as the dawn is breaking” as sung by someone who took me in her arms with her voice.
Reminds me of going to see this on Drury Lane in London for the first time (on my first ever visit there) at age 14. Blown away by the sets, costumes and dancing, I was similarly moved by the performance of this song, and I probably sang it in every talent show and and family gathering for years afterward. Always makes me think of both my musical-theatre loving mother and my nutty British granny, both of whom could never get enough of hearing it. As it happens, I was also just talking about this at a party last night.