“Ring around the rosie, pocket full of posies, ashes, ashes, we all fall down.”
Dance around the roses. Fill your pockets with flowers. You live, then you are dust.
Here, in a simple chiming chant, is the story of the life cycle, the circle that is our human condition: beautiful flowing life that moves inexorably toward the inevitable, inescapable, unavoidable end, the fall.
It’s a child’s dance, danced wholeheartedly with a child’s enthusiasm and a child’s understanding that we take our pleasures now (roll them up in a round ball, the poet says to his coy mistress) because we’re going to fall down in a second. And when we do, it’s the most thrilling part.
When I play this game with the girls, I want to sing the song to the end, remain upright until the proper time, the very last word. Eleanor and Mia insist on flinging themselves to the ground early, letting loose their knees and hips in a floppy collapse, laughing. Then they want do it all over and over again.