Invitations to dance

The story of poetry, the poetry of stories

you enter a space
meant to transform you.

Kerstin Gollembiewski

Lingenau is a poetic village. It invites the quick and messy scribbles of pencil on paper, trying to capture the moment's inspiration. Poems flutter around our heads and hearts like birds, and from time to time one loses a feather – a one-word story, a metaphor, a word play, a rhyme. Here and there, one of these feathers lands in the lap of a circus artist. And then, if we're lucky, the artist freezes the idea in writing, to share it with the rest.

Sometimes, it's just a distant memory of a lyrical story that's touched us once before, and we search through our mind (and sometimes the »world wide web« – now isn't that a wonderful phrase, too? The World Wide Web?) to find the words that had been said before. And sometimes, the verses fly away again to find another heart to land in.

These are some of the ones we've managed to capture and share.

Photo by Yannis Angelis

Photo by Yannis Angelis

An emergence of the following poem by Stephanie Bachmair:

‚what makes noise noise and music music?

when meditation dances with prayer
gendarmes with villains
and the priest with fallen-in-love’ ones
then we moved
in the good direction

A playful, yet powerful invitation. It is a poem by Hafiz that came up in a session on poetry suggested by Barbara Hunter-Lemke. The image of a full table at a party, where there is enough for everyone, if everyone brings a little something, became a metaphor for our co-creation, for the space in which all of us can give and take, and the abundance of our gifts.

At This Party

I don’t want to be the only one here
Telling all the secrets –

Filling up all the bowls at this party,
Taking all the laughs.

I would like you
To start putting things on the table
That can also feed the soul
The way I do.

That way
We can invite

A hell of a lot more

 By Hafiz

With the table full, deep conversations sparking and friendships beginning to form, our stories begin to flow. The people here are special, because they listen. Really listen. Not just wait for their turn to talk, but stop and step into your story for a while. Walk with you. Let you enter their world as they enter yours. This poem was shared my Yannis in a big circle at the end of Day 2. It's a beautiful short story, written by Nayyirah Waheed.


Sharing stories, we expand. There are no borders, we flow out and embrace freedom of being endless, disrupting the order. Like a coffee stain.

This is a poem Stephi read in a big circle … It’s the only poem in German I’m sharing here, and we wouldn’t want it to be lost in translation. So here it is, exactly how it landed on paper in the moment of emergence.

Der Kaffeefleck by Stephanie Bachmair

Image from iOS (2).jpg

I love how sometimes, poetic just sparks into life from throwing words into the air and catching them while they fall. This is how the following poem came to be: it originated in exploring the question of bringing together a multicultural team. Jacques, Stephi and I were walking up a narrow way through the woods on a hillside above Lingenau, freely associating. Just before we reached our next bench, Jacques managed to grasp some of the words we've been tossing around, and let them land in his notebook. (Jacques’ original can be found here)

Dancing on barbed wire
Mending broken things –
The grace of healing

Jacques Chlopczyk / Stephanie Bachmair / Katarina Veselko / Lingenau

I believe what enables such wonderful creations to come to life so effortlessly is the community. StoryCamp, to me, more than anything, is a community of people dedicated to listening deeply to capture the untold and letting stories emerge, and brave enough to take the quill in their own hand and write the stories we wish to live. And for that, we need to feel like we belong somewhere. In the final round, I said the treasure I found was being held. A circle of hands.

Photo by Andreas Liebhart

Photo by Andreas Liebhart


We are all longing to go home to some place
we have never been—a place half-remembered and half-envisioned
we can only catch glimpses of from time to time.


Somewhere, there are people
to whom we can speak with passion
without having the words catch in our throats.
Somewhere a circle of hands will open to receive us,
eyes will light up as we enter, voices will celebrate
with us
whenever we come into our own power.

Community means strength that joins us our strength
to do the work that needs to be done.

Arms to hold us when we falter.
A circle of healing.  A circle of friends.
Someplace where
we can be free.

 by Starhawk

We have a community. We have the strength do to what needs to be done. And now, the Call, shared by Yannis in our final round. To gather up our gifts and treasures and go do something. Change. Transform. Grow. And take the world along.

Did you get the call? 

Did you get the call? I did.
Did you hear your name in the middle of the night?
That voice egging you on, nudging you to awaken.
The silent alarm vibrating through your heart,
bursting your confusion, this nameless knowing.
This tumult of soul seeking truths
Are there words for this disposition?
Come out, add to the dialog this hiding no longer suits you.
You’re on the brink of transformation
and you need to jump in or defy gravity,
and float into the collective of indie souls.
Or, into the cast of nameless and unidentified
seekers of change, your new family.
So go out.
Be the change.
By doing, sharing, creating.
Walk the walk and talk the talk in your gifted way, your language.
Paint the story, write the story, sing, dance, play the story.
Pass it on, teach it, grow it, word by word, by mouth.
Be the person you want to be.
Be the person you need to be.
Take your hat off.
Sit down and journal this pause.
Put on sneakers, grab a towel, and run this moment.
Pick up your mat, find space, and meditate this moment.
But however you do what you do, carry someone with you, forward.
Talk to them, touch them, share fears, share joys, speak ideas.
Collectively we cannot effect change by only watching.
We are the town criers.

 by DelRita Butler

We are now home. Back to our ordinary world, carrying all the treasures. One story ends here. And yet, we have received this call. We answered it with a passionate »yes«. A call to a new adventure. A bigger one, maybe. To change the world through stories, as some have humbly shared in our innitial burning questions. The world is reaching its hand out, inviting us to dance. So let's dance.

We are dancers

What is dance
if not touching the world in a new way
if not letting yourself be moved by another
if not listening to what your body has to say

What is circus
if not a collection of mistfits and freaks
if not finding a like-hearted brother
if not turning a flaw into the treasure one seeks

What is story
if not hearing the whispers between words
if not the shortest distance to the other
if not gently voicing the unheard

What is Earth
if not humanity's most precious chance
if not the passion of a Wild Red Mother
if not an intimate invitation to dance

Who are we
if not a flock of whirling dancers
weaving stories with each other
exploring questions with no answer

by Katarina Veselko

*Title photo copyright Roswitha Schneider. Thanks to everyone who contributed the poems and photos used in this post.