Obon Dance of Light

© 2014 Kaia Fowler
~ For my friend in loss and light. Thank you.

 

We make our way to the old quarry
Along wooded trails to the man-hewn lake
Feet crunch on gravel paths
And kill deers squabble in the marsh grass
Great trees give witness, stand in reflection
Canada geese fly overhead sounding “Day Is Done”
as they splash down in unison.

Obon, dance of light
Grant us refuge. Let us say goodbye
Obon, sweet dance of light
In the darkness, shine the truth of life

We friends unfold rice paper lanterns
Light the wicks, set them adrift, aflame
Fire glows on the mirrored water
Shines bright against the gathering dark
Love swells in sorrow – so deep so wide
No boat to carry me over. I have no wings to fly.
I have only candlelight.

Obon, dance of light
Grant us refuge. Let us say goodbye
Obon, sweet dance of light
In the darkness, shine the truth of life

Flames on still water
Lanterns illuminating
Peace beyond goodbye

Flames on still water
Lanterns illuminating
Peace beyond goodbye

[Additional lyrics for layered vocals song ending:]

Oh, when great souls die, this is how we say goodbye.
Oh, when great souls die, this is how we say goodbye.
We have loved deeply, we have grieved intensely, we have healed profoundly.
We have loved deeply, we have grieved intensely, we have healed profoundly.
We can be and be better. We can be.
We can be and be better. We can be.


This song loosely references the poem “When Great Trees Fall” by Maya Angelou. It was read at the Obon ceremony that inspired this song. Click here to read Maya Angelou’s poem.