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Dance of the Cafeteros, a Poem by Russell Willis

Far above the level of the sea an Axis of Coffee straddles the mountains of Columbia

For the cafeteros there is but one centuries-old constant: “there is always coffee”

But in this age technology supplants the marriage of human and soil, hands and limbs, brains and beans.

The chase is on;

The chase to hold on to the soil as it washes off the mountains

The chase up the mountain, ever higher, chasing the temperatures where coffee trees thrive as lower altitudes get warmer, ever warmer.

This dance between human and natural – an ancient dance

The dance cafeteros learned from their abuelos y abuelas

The dance humans had learned to do with grace and finesse and not a little bit of wisdom.

But not always; sometimes heavy-handed forgetting to dance.

Choosing, instead, to simply use.

All the while, the cafeteros push their hopes and plantations up the mountains so that it may still be true in their world: “there is always coffee”


Ethicist, online education entrepreneur, and pastor, Russell Willis emerged as a poet in 2019. Since then he has been profiled in THE POET Magazine and published in twenty-eight online and print journals (including the Ekstasis Review and As Above So Below) and seventeen anthologies. Russell grew up in and around Texas, was vocationally scattered throughout the Southwest and Great Plains for many years, and is now settled in Vermont with his wife, Dawn.


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