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Now and Zen


Norine Braun


Jade was inspired by the novel Jade Peony by Wayson Choy.

I read the novel in 2003 and was deeply moved. I loved many things about the story and what stood out for me was the rich character development and the universality of those character's feelings. It was the first time I had read a novel with the setting of Vancouver the city where I live and also a story with the Chinese Canadian point of view. I found The Jade Peony historically fascinating and felt Wayson Choy transported me back in time. In my song each verse is about each of the 3 sections of the novel. It is difficult if not impossible to condense a novel into a song so I tried to capture the essence and feelings the story evoked in me that mirrored my own life. The chorus is representative of the grandmother in the story and the wise woman in all of us. Symbolically it is that part that gets handed down to the future generations and never dies.The first section is about the little girl and the old man and that deep connection and the sudden loss or abandonment she experiences. The second verse is about longing and being who we really are. The young man struggles with his sexual identity and his forbidden desires. The final verse is about the boy and his neighbour babysitter, their secrets, bonding and the insanity of war and racism and how though young, his eyes and soul are very wise and have seen much pain and sorrow . The boy also follows his intuitive self which I find admirable.


JADE For her Monkey King She would dance and sing Put on the show He'd hobble with his canes They would play her games A bandit's love grows More than just a girl He would rule her world She waited there But old man in a hurry Left with bones to bury Her heart was breaking Jade Washes clean Hangs in the sky Jade peony won't die Jade Like oceans in the sun Forever Fighter second son Sole adopted one The loyal boy Came from tragedy Banished memory Kept fading slowly Star-crossed and attuned Learned he was the moon His idol sun Hiding never speak Or be found he's weak His longing burning Jade Washes clean Hangs in the sky Jade peony won't die Jade Like oceans in the sun Forever When the baby came Jealous eyes were tamed When ill lungs cried Coddled and caressed Grew up and impressed The neighbour's maiden Witness to her risk Mortal lover's kiss He'd never tell She loved the enemy Blood stained misery As she lay dying Jade Washes clean Hangs in the sky Jade peony won't die Jade Like oceans in the sun Forever....... ©Norine Braun SOCAN All Rights Reserved

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