I went out with a mandolin to watch my sister dance,
Perhaps to play, for she’d said they on tunes were often short.
But as it happened, that one night, entirely by chance,
Attendance problems threatened them their practice for to thwart.
Performing rapper sword dances is something I’ve not done,
But a single glance around the room made clear they lacked but one.
So into service I was pressed, and sword into my hand,
And found myself a member of that merry little band.
I always like to help, and so I went in with a grin,
Little knowing how soon I would take it on the chin,
For rehearsing all these figures was a tricky task wherein
All the custom terminology just set my head a-spin!
We start in “guard” and that’s not hard—I just wait at the back—
And then the “curly” part is surely started without stress:
I followed Tee and she led me to loop around the track,
But then it all began to fall into a silly mess.
The ups and downs and turn-arounds were called the “ins-and-outs,”
But if you know the way to turn you’ll not get knocked about.
Then “plow through” to “over your neighbor” (“-’s sword” I think they mean),
And the “diddle-diddle-dees” are making quite the flashy scene.
When “dummers” came they swore that it did not refer to me,
But as I said, “just shove me on to where I need to be.”
“Maryann’s” identity they never did reveal,
But apparently she frolics with a “jump-rope” made of steel.
The “princess” part was someone else, and had to do with “lines,”
The “fiddler” bit was “fast and loose” and could have used some signs.
By “popcorn” I had lost it, and the “basket” that we “spin,”
I wished was something they would use to carry me home in.
’Twas but one dance! It could have been an even weirder trip,
With “twisted fixies,” “double guards,” and “prince of Wales” flips,
Or “puking fiddlers,” “open rings,” or “breastplates” and “odd slides,”
But ’twas enough for my poor feet and my poor brain besides.
All the figures ended with a “nut” for all to see,
But the nuttiest of all was the nut they made of me!