Crazy Jane (Pt. III)

(Editor’s note: in Part III of David Crandall’s English-language noh “Crazy Jane,” the character Jane recounts dancing with the lost Tom.)

It must be many years ago by now, but I have lost the thread of time, and memories seem more real to me than what others call the waking world.

A day in spring
The wind blowing wet as a river
Mingling with the breath of new green
And the damp smell of wakening earth.
The sun lined each leaf
In a sheath of gold
While the sea whispered softly
To the listening sky.
Two musicians had come to town
A two-penny flute and old concertina
Playing for copper on the green
Here they played, here we danced,
Tom and I, holding the world within us

I can still feel his arms,
Tight about me.

The music welled up from the sea
Flooding the wind
It splashed on our feet, our hands
And rippled in the trees
Light on water, rising and falling
Light on leaf, a shadow dance
Of green and gold
Under the soft spring sky-
I can still feel his arms,
Tight about me…

Oh, Tom, where have you gone
That I cannot follow, or hear your voice?
Gone, Tom, but the dance remains
Empty patterns in the air
Empty hands rising to grasp the sky

A swollen heart that has no release

The dance remains and I to dance it
An ivory figure, pale in the moonlight.

If only I could gather them together
The memories
Scattered like shells, broken,
Buried in sand

Or washed smooth by waves set in the sea
Like wrinkles in the faces of old women

Gathered together
Like colored glass
Shining in a rose window
Beautiful from within

Patterns of shadowed light traced upon stone
An elegant mosaic of displaced time

Moving with the sun

Shining through cedar and green-shaded ivy
Shadow and light dance on the wind
Speckling the earth with fragments of gold

Tom and I dance to the echoing music
Down the steep slope hand in quivering hand

Down winding pathways to dance by the sea
Where wave touches shore
The dance is unending

Where wave touches shore
The heart breathes with the sea

Where wave touches shore-

Tom dances with me…

(Continued in Part IV)


About Theatre Nohgaku

Noh, one of the oldest continuing stage arts, combines highly stylized dance, chant, music, mask and costume with intense inner concentration and physical discipline, creating a uniquely powerful theatrical experience. Theatre Nohgaku’s mission is to share noh’s beauty and power with English speaking audiences and performers. We have found that this traditional form retains its dramatic effectiveness in languages other than Japanese. We believe noh techniques hold a powerful means of expression in the context of contemporary English language theatre.
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1 Response to Crazy Jane (Pt. III)

  1. tko says:

    What a beautiful play. Whatever the form, CJ emerges as an extraordinarily beautiful piece of writing.

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