Sunday, April 30, 2017

Tabula Rasa

We conclude our brief survey of Arvo Pärt’s works with his 1977 composition, Tabula Rasa, a double concerto for two violins, prepared piano, & chamber orchestra. As was the case with the other works featured this month, Tablua Rasa is written in Pärt’s tintinnabuli style.

Image links to its source on Wiki Commons:
"Wachstafel mit Griffel" (Wax tabley with stylus). Photograph by Sippel2707 at German Wikipediawho makes it available under the following licenses:
the GNU FreeDocumentation License, Version 1.2 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, no Front-Cover Texts, and no Back-Cover Texts; & under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Peace on Earth

Image links to its source on Wiki Commons:
"Peace on Earth" in Portland, Oregon; 17 December 2013 by Visitor7 [the link provided is empty], who makes it available under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0Unported license.

Friday, April 28, 2017

Columbia River Octets (for Sandy)

Phenomenological Columbia River Double Octet

the single green houseboat moored at the pier’s end,
a bicycle hanging on the bowside wall

knows something singular about the water—
the one cormorant stretching dark wings into

sun & wind from its driftwood perch knew something
deep about the ripples before we walked through

this blue afternoon not exactly the same
as blue under the boat’s keel, in the bird’s eye

sparrows in these hedges stay invisible
though leaves sing, perhaps not because cumulus

clouds drift across the sky blue sky sky reflecting
the river’s flotilla of moored sailboats—what’s

above also being below—river’s salt breath, wind
off the iris slope of Larch Mountain & you

kneeling to catch the imaginary scent
of white rhododendrons mingling with our breath


Columbia River Morning Octet

sky & river both from a black & white film:
stratus clouds, the slategray current, that same flock

of mergansers set adrift, the cormorant
erupting off the water, one song sparrow

perched on the juniper with nothing to say,
a pair of mallards floating across the pier’s

reflection, the crow, a twig clasped in its beak,
flies to the cedar to nest as if it knew

Jack Hayes
© 2017

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Back from a Walk

Back from a Walk

Assassinated by the sky,
between the shapes moving toward the serpent,
and the shapes seeking crystal,
I’ll let my hair grow.

With the tree of amputated limbs that doesn’t sing
and the boy with the face white as an egg.

With broken-headed small animals
and the tattered water of dry feet.

With all the weary deaf-mutes
and the butterfly drowned in the inkwell.

Tripping over my face every day.
Assassinated by the sky!

Federico García Lorca, “Vuelta de paseo”
Translation by Jack Hayes
© 2017

Image links to its source on Wiki Commons:
“Lucky Strike Date” (1921): Stuart Davis
Public domain

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Dao De Jing 8

Dao De Jing 8

The highest virtue is like water. 
Water’s virtue comes from its benefit to the ten thousand things; 
without striving against this, it settles in the low place all men despise, and so is like the Dao.   
The virtue of a residence comes from its site, 
that of the mind comes from depth, 
that of friendship from kindness, 
that of words from truth, 
that of governing from promoting peace and order, 
that of work from competence, 
that of action from timeliness. 
In the absence of conflict there is no blame.

Laozi, 道德經
Translation by John Hayes
Unlike with my original poetry & poetry translations, I don’t asset a copyright claim on my translation of the Dao De Jing. It may be freely used under the terms of the Creative Commons license.

Image links to its source on Wiki Commons:
“Scholar by a Waterfall” – Ma Yuan (Chinese, active ca. 1190–1225), Southern Song dynasty (1127–1279): ink & color on silk

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Two April Octets

22nd Ave Satori Octet

electric wind off the MAX train out of sight
behind me, beyond the apple tree’s white eyes

blossoming by the hundreds, my eyes in bloom
too, this sunlight caressing the palmetto’s

fronds, such a head of hair let down in waves of
green memory, sunlight embracing pastel

rhododendrons, laying its radiant hand
on the tea shop’s drawn blinds, reflecting on me


Denver Ave Spring Meditation Octet

two strings of prayer flags & a black bicycle
constitute a porch; this dogwood’s outpouring,

its hundreds of hearts opened to whatever
this honest blue sky with its one white airplane

flying east over the treetops might offer
constitutes spring like that one scarlet tulip,

a cup in its patch of sunlight both empty
& filled past the Japanese maple’s shadow

Jack Hayes
© 2017

Monday, April 24, 2017

Two Octets with Cherry Blossoms

Sandy Blvd Springtime Octet
the cherry blossom clusters weighing down boughs
mirror cumulus clouds as through a concave

lens—a lemon yellow façade, a takeout
window with awning, a taijitu’s black &

white swirl against another building; dogwood’s
paradise pink opening over my head,

still sparse on dark tangled branches, unfolding
into blue afternoon: the promise of more


Holladay Park Rain Octet

the magnolia’s pink cups catch the drizzle;
one petal has dropped to the walkway amidst

pointillist reflections of sky’s attempt at
light & cedar’s dark boughs; rhododendron buds

thrust crimson into the air, fountain spouting
arches of water into rain, those benches

in a black metal crescent—kwanzan blooms bend
branches under their damp impalpable weight

Jack Hayes
© 2017