If you don’t know what the voice of a Pansori singer sounds like, i recommend you search it on Youtube. It has an overwhelming effect on me whenever i hear it. i become frozen, my skin horripilates & i just want to weep. The force with which they sing is far more intense & emotional than the best of opera singers.
The first line refers to the right of passage that only when a singer can sing louder than a waterfall are they given the title Pansori. The songs tend to the theme of loss. They are tragic & the singer must memorize whole stories with very intricate rhythm patterns, as you will discover if you seek it out, which again, i highly recommend you do. You can kill two birds with one stone by watching the brilliant Sopyeonjae which earned Oh Jung-hae quite a few awards for what is an outstanding performance. If you are bored on this day of rest, give it a watch. You can find it on Youtube or the link is included.
The Pansori Singer
So the volume of your voice, consumed the heft
of the waterfall & now, commands the swing
of my heart. You come dim, from the far side
of the restaurant, through the radio.
It’s difficult, over tattle & chomping,
to hear your hair wove tightly in a bun,
your body’s interior pressures hermetically sealed
to stop the song from tearing you to bits.
In the hardened tremolo of your voice
i hear men of the dead, with clean bills of health,
& dry cutlass fish spines, broken between
their thumbs & forefingers, just as your voice splits
atoms, in what can only be
the dreadful aftermath of loss.