After Walter de la Mare
Slowly, silently, masked like moons,
they walk the night in tabi shoes.
Across the bridge from the divine,
stories threaded in the pine
that stands for ever at the back
of centre stage as spotlights catch
men who kneel in neat culottes
and strike the music’s paradox.
Awakening the ghosts still deep
in ancient lands’ mysterious sleep;
released from history, gliding by,
visors hiding silver eyes,
assuming that we too have been
drifting down their silver stream.
Note: Noh is a stylised classical Japanese music-drama created by Zeami (1363–1443). It recreates ancient legends using elaborate costumes and masks and is believed to suspend actors and audience in a supernatural state.
Hazel Hall is a well published Canberra poet and musicologist. Recent collections are Step By Step: Tai Chi Meditations with tai chi master Angie Egan (Picaro Poets 2018), Moonlight over the Siding with artist Robert Tingey (Interactive Press 2019), and Severed Web with artist Deborah Faeyrglenn (Picaro Poets 2020).
Listen to Hazel reading Noh (0:54)
© 2021 text and audio