in continuum: haiku by Darrell DeVore

01Sep16

bamboo

On August 14th I read some of my father’s poetry as part of an Obon event held at the wonderful MIIT House performance space, a converted butcher shop (hence the name) that often features avant-garde improvisational music and dance. Performers included, among others, Mangrove Kipling on electro-noise box, saxophonics by  Jonas Labhart and Jerry Gordon, Yuki Maegaki on Taisho koto, butoh dance by Nonoko Sato and L. Sakai, and poetry by mjsalovaara.

I read two pieces by my father, Darrell DeVore. The first, for which I was joined by Jerry Gordon and mjsalovaara, was an arrangement for three voices based on excerpts from The Cosmic Music Handbook, written in San Francisco in 1973. The second piece was a series of haiku that my father wrote later in life, which I read in both English and Japanese. My translations, which do not follow proper haiku format, are sloppy at best, but have been cleaned up with a lot of help from Hiroki Iwai and Marié Abe.

My father died during the first year I was living in Japan and so was never able to visit. One of my father’s most passionate interests was bamboo; somewhere there is even a half-finished book on the subject that he was in the process of putting together. Bamboo was the medium of choice for many of the instruments he made – flutes, marimbas, bull roarers, rain sticks, butu, etc. – a few of which can be heard on the Terra Nova instruments page. Whenever I hear the sound of bamboo stalks bumping lightly together in the wind the sound of my father’s bamboo orchestra also appears in the guise of a psychic palimpsest and I come face to face with the ghost that lives curled inside my ear, opening the world up for listening.

1.

The birds know enough
To fly above the danger.
Live in the moment.

実は鳥は賢い、
危ない世界の上で飛ぶ。
今生きている。

2.

The voice has it all.
Ancestral essence is heard
In ululation.

声は全部。
話中でも歌う中でも
祖先の精神が聞こえる。

3.

In continuum . . .
The sky, the Earth, the ocean.
Now it is always.

ずっと継続する。。。
空、地球、海。
今は永遠。

4.

The elemental
Sounds come from primal sources.
The wise ears listen.

音の本源は
原始的。
賢い耳なら聞こえる。
5.

Vultures’ majesty
Soaring unified in flight,
Always to the West.

兀鷹は本当に威厳がある。
統一して飛ぶ、
いつもいつも西の方。

6.

White fog in the West.
September’s lowering sun.
That is the music.

西の方の白い霧。
九月の日がゆっくり沈む。
あれは音楽。

7.

Rattle of dry leaves.
The music of little means
Is big in big ears.

枯れ葉のカサカサする音は
ささいな音楽。
でもよく済ました耳には大きい音楽。

8.

The sound of bamboo
Struck or blown or plucked or bowed,
Broadcasts seeds that grow.

打つか吹くか弾くか弓で弾くか、
竹の音が
種を撒き散る。



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