Sunday, 27 March 2011

Song Cycle for Japan

Pops and I went to St Mary's Church, Upper Street, to listen to a song cycle for Japan. The music was haunting, played on a baby grand piano with two voices - female and male. The church setting was contemplative. Outside the large clear glass windows were some huge plain trees with those balls of seeds, against a blue sky, rays of sun shone in.

The lyrics made me think about the images that stuck in my head from the news footage.
  • People running out of offices while rubble falls from skyscrapers crashing onto the pavement.
  • A white car drives along a straight road, behind it the tsunami wave crashes together from both sides of the road, large and blackened. Its haunting that they keep saying the wave is travelling at 500 miles per hour. I think about the car often, did it escape? It doesn't seem possible.
  • The wave rolls over the town's defences, overcoming walls and houses, surrounded they fold in on themselves like paper.
  • Aftermath - two buildings left standing in a town with a population of 10,000. The rest of it looks like tindersticks.
  • Ships beached in the centre of flattened towns.
  • A child with her mother and brother, searching the rubble of their former home, runs over with a photograph in a frame. The frame is broken and the glass is muddy, the mother takes the photograph out and wipes it with her hand. It shows her son and daughter with their father. A tear escapes from her eye and rolls down her cheek. Their father is a rescue worker, she explains, we haven't seen him since the wave came. We hope he is safe.
  • An old man stooped with age, aided by a walking stick, climbs off the rubble with a rescue worker.
The nuclear smoke and steam from the reactor steals the news away from the human stories as the world becomes afraid of the wider impact. I wish they would return to the human stories. There was one news item that showed a road just after the quake - ripped up, jagged - and now - already resurfaced and fixed. The one person we knew who was in Japan at the time of the quake got back sooner than expected. He was truely amazed at the way the Japanese handled it - calm, orderly despite the terrifying situation.

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