Kodo - In the Audience

by Alaena Hope

A sea of darkness with a heart of flame.

A hundred breaths held still in expectation.

Then silence parts in tinkling drops of rain:

A promise and a gentle salutation.

A rising wave. Leaves tossed upon the wind.

A flash of light! A rush of beats. Behold!

It’s here. This is how all our songs begin:

A thunder pounding deep inside our souls.

Then storm gray skies make way for suns and moons,

And bright the dewdrops gleam in bamboo dreams.

Tranquility lies deep in turbulent tunes,

Unraveled shades, a dance, and those between.

The end comes like a startled gasp for air

As we awaken from this trance we shared.

(Published March 2021)

Author's Note: I wrote the first draft of this a few years ago after attending a performance by a taiko drum troupe called Kodo with my parents. The performance was held at UC Berkeley. We got the DVD for my sister, who was unable to attend, but there's just something striking about being there in the audience that you don't get from a recording. I wanted to illustrate my impressions of that spectacular show here.