Kiri’s Piano    (video)


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1.     Of all of Kiri Ito's joys,       the thing she loved the best

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    was to play her prized piano when the sun had gone to rest.

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    I used to hear the notes drift down        along the silent water,

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    as Kiri played the notes and scales for her dear sons and daughters.


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    Now, me, I played piano         though not as good as Kiri,

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    she went in for that long-haired stuff but, my, she played it pretty.

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    The old piano had a tone, would set my heart to aching,

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    it always sounded sweetest though when it was Kiri playing.


+  D - G - A - A7 (2x)


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2. In December when the Seventh Fleet was turned to smoke and ashes,

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    the order came to confiscate their fishing boats and caches.

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    And Kiri's husband forced to go and work in labour camps,

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    and Kiri left alone to fend and hold the fort as best she can.


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    But the music did not drift as often       from up the cove at Kiri's house,

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    and when it did it sounded haunted,

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    played with worry, played with doubt.

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    For Kiri knew that soon she too would be compelled to leave,

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    and the old upright would stay behind and Kiri, she would grieve.


+  D - G - A - A7 (2x)


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3. I loaded Kiri on the bus with stoic internees,

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    the crime that they were guilty of was that they were not like me.

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    And if I was ashamed, I didn't know it at the time,

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    they were flotsam on the wave of war, they were no friends of mine.


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    I went up to Kiri's house      to tag all their belongings,

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    and set them out for auctioneers who'd claim them in the morning.

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    One piece that I thought I'd keep and hold back for myself,

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    was that haunting ivory upright that Kiri played so well.


+  D - G - A - A7 (2x)


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4.     But Kiri had not left it there        for me to take as plunder,

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    she'd rolled it down onto the dock and on into the harbor.

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    The old upright in strangers' hands     was a thought she couldn't bear,

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    so she consigned it to the sea to settle the affair.


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    So many years have come and gone       since Kiri's relocation,

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    I look back now upon that time with shame and resignation.

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    For Kiri knew what I did not, that if we must be free,

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    then sometimes we must sacrifice to gain our dignity.


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    Yes, Kiri knew what I did not, that if we must be free,

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    then sometimes we must sacrifice to gain our dignity.


(orig. = capo 2nd)    (James Keelaghan)