THE EDGE OF PEACE*

A meditation on the fragility of peace in Poem and Song.

By

Nick Carpenter:  Music

Kent Stetson: Lyrics, text, poetry, co-director.

* developed from The Edge of Peace, Poetry, Monologue, Music and Image in Nine Spheres.

Confederation Park, Ottawa.
November 5-11, 2018

*Produced by Lucion Media for Veterans Affairs Canada.

 

EARTH: First Soldier

We ploughed the fields of Saskatchewan,
my father and I.

The days were long,
the skies were clear –
Endless July.

The dark earth smiled.
The soil gave life.
We lived in peace
on the edge of a knife.

They called.
I answered.

We fight for freedom
In tunnel and trench.
Blood. Mud. Fury.
Battered soil drenched.

The weary earth sighs
And cradles our bones.
We are victory, uncertain,
The seeds of peace, sown.

Quickened we rise
From crater and grave.

Moonlight, we are.
Moonlight, shadow and mist.

We march to the ridge.

Two stone-white towers

anchored in concrete and hope

cut a portal in the sky.

We ascend.

“Remember us,” we say.
“Honor us,” we pray.
“Never let hope die.”

 

AIR: Second Soldier

We flew kites on Toronto Island,
my father and I.
The skies were pure and clear,

our spirits high.

They called.
I answered.

Cannons still the small voice
that whispers peace

Charred earth smoulders.

Lightning splits spectral trees.

Thunder rolls,

the roar of dark desire.

The air ignites…

The sky’s on fire!

The sun,
unnatural,
green as a bruise,
fades in a lethal cloud.

Our guns fall silent.

No birds sing.

Heaven holds its breath.
I cannot.

The fog of war becomes my shroud.

Ashes we are,
Ashes and dust and hope.

Kites will fly, the air will heal…
When paper and string
Conquer bullet and steel.

 

FIRE: Third Soldier

We turned sand into glass in Old Montreal,
my father and I.

Crystal, we called it.
Transparent.
Luminous.
Light as a sigh.

Shaped by our breath
in a fiery well.
Beauty – born fragile –
in the white heat of hell.

They called.
I answered.

What scorches the soul
like the fire of war?
What burns our flesh,
what sears to the core?

If war is eternal
how can peace last?
How like us,
our goblets of crystal and glass.

Can peace be forged?
Can peace be cast
from rods of iron
with hammers of brass?

Peace is fragile.
Peace is kind.
Bright as crystal.
Hopeful as time.

 

WATER: Fourth Soldier

We pulled fish from the Bay of Fundy,
my father and I.

Slick they are,

slick and silver.

Fertile, furtive, alive.

Wind from the east…

Breaking crests blow foam.

Whirlpools, currents eddies.

Wave and trough amplify

chop, pitch and yaw.

They called.
I answered.

The people knew armistice
would be signed that day.

They rushed from their homes

dying to be free
to breathe the air of peace.

There was a sniper on the loose.

We warned the people,

my friend and I –

‘Stay inside’, we told them.
‘Stay inside. It’s still not safe’.

Not until 11:00,
I thought.
Five more minutes,
I thought…

We’re on the threshold.
The last house.
The last hour.
The last day.

My friend made it home.

I did not.

 

The Edge of Peace

Lyrics: Kent Stetson

Music: Nick Carpenter

Eirene emerges from shadow.

Eirene:   (Sings) I loved you like no other.

We end where we begin.

Father, mother, daughter, brother

We live to love again.

At the edge of peace is a prayer…

 

Peace is fragile.

Peace is kind.

Bright as starlight.

Hopeful as time.

 

Soldiers:          (Sing) Father, mother, daughter, brother

Eirene:             We live to love again.

 

Eirene:             Grace in the water

Soldiers:                      Flames in the water

Eirene:             Grace in the sky

Soldiers:                      Fire in the sky

Eirene:             Love one another

Soldiers:                      Love one another

Eirene:             With hope that cannot die.

Soldiers:                      Father, mother, daughter, brother

 

Eirene:             We live to love again.

 

Four Soldiers: We long to feel the future

We kneel to honour the past

We pray for a kinder future

Where peace shall bloom at last.

 

Ensemble:   (choral) Peace is fragile.

Peace is kind.

Bright as starlight.

Hopeful as time.

 

Soldiers:         

We end

Where we

Begin

Where we begin

We end …

 

Eirene:   … where we begin again.

 

Ensemble:       Enemies shall gather

As friends to sing and feast.

The sword of war shall be broken

At the flickering edge of peace.

 

The sword of war shall be broken

At the edge of peace

 

Soldiers:          Father, mother, daughter, brother.

 

We live to love again…

 

The Orchestra expands and resolves the main theme.

 

Fade

 

 

 

 

EKS
30 November 2018