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Sand and dust

Trinh Cong Son, translated by Vân Mai

An afternoon of unmemorable time and date, alone I took off to the movie theater to watch "The Tale of Zatoichi, The Blind Swordsman", part 6. This is a movie series. Once you watch one part, you cannot not long to see the next one. In brief, all series are fascinating. In this one, there was a scene where the blind ronin wielded his sword to liberate a beautiful Lady Kiều. At each and every superb draw of his, a voice could be heard praising his swordsmanship . In response, his sword seemed to gain more vigor, becoming more nimble and splendid with every move. After rescuing the Lady Kiều, the blind ronin turned towards the voice and bowed in acknowledgement. It turned out that under the tree on the other side of the trail, there was another blind man sitting cross-legged, holding his cloth-covered musical instrument on his laps. The blind musician expressed his wish to play a piece in dedication to the blind ronin. The two of them then left for the deep jungle near by. It must be autumn, because all trees were devoid of leaves, and only a carpet of red and yellow leaves could be seen covering the ground. They rested their backs on two facing opposite trees. The notes took off like cries, despondent about earth and heaven, about the human condition. Abruptly halfway, the strings broke. The blind musician said: there is an untruthful person listening. Indeed, a surreptitious spy was prowling on the blind ronin. Upon those words, the two men silently parted.

After the movie, I took a walk across town . For some reason that short film stretch made me soulful. I got home by the evening, and after supper, I sat down and reread "Zorba The Greek". Up to the passage where Zorba lamented : "Partridge bird, please don’t sing anymore, for your singing breaks my heart", I suddenly closed the book and stopped reading. Something was taking shape coincidentally in the same evening. A sadness or perhaps a feeling of parting and separation was stirring in me, awakened. I decided to leave the house for a spot in a familiar café. On my way back home again, suddenly in my mind arose a melody. I mentally turn it over and over, then sang it softly. By the time I arrived home , the song was almost complete. The next morning, I performed it to a few friends, and they all liked it.

That is the story of the birth of "Sand and Dust".

Each song originated from a cause of some sort. Sometimes, it is from a story of nonsense.

By now, the blind ronin of a time lays dead. About two years ago, the creator of Zorba had passed away, and of course that partridge bird also had died. And if Zorba was ever a real person adapted to novel by Nikos Kazantzakits, then he too was dead by now.

"As the beat goes on, infinite..."

Time did grind all and everything to sand and dust, alas...

Trinh Cong Son

The World of Music Journal, number 1-1998

Translated by Vân Mai
April 1, 2005

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