The Face of War

[incomplete]

Song Cycle by Elie Siegmeister (1909 - 1991)

Word count: 272

1. Official notice [sung text checked 1 time]

Dear Death:
I got your message
That my son is dead.
The ink you used
To write it
Is the blood he bled.
You say he died with honor
On the battlefield,
And that I am honored, too,
By this bloody yield.
Your letter
Signed in blood,
With his blood
Is sealed. 

Authorship

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

2. Listen here, Joe [sung text checked 1 time]

Listen here, Joe
Don't you know
That tomorrow
You got to go
Out yonder where
The steel winds blow?

Listen here, kid,
It's been said
Tomorrow you'll be dead
Out there where
The [snow]1 is lead.

Don't ask me why.
Just go ahead and die.
Hidden from the sky
Out yonder you'll lie:
A medal to your family --
In exchange for
A guy.

Mama, don't cry.

Authorship

View original text (without footnotes)
1 Siegmeister: "rain"

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

3. Peace [sung text checked 1 time]

We passed their graves:
The dead men there,
Winners or losers,
Did not care.

In the dark
They could not see
Who had gained
The victory.

Authorship

See other settings of this text.

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

4. The dove [sung text checked 1 time]

...and here is
old Picasso and the dove
and dreams as fragile
as pottery with dove
in white on clay
dark brown as
earth is brown
from our old
battle ground...

Authorship

See other settings of this text.

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

5. War [sung text checked 1 time]

The face of war is my face.
The face of war is your face.

    What color
    Is the face
    Of war?

Brown, black, white--
Your face and my face.

Death is the broom
I take in my hands
To sweep the world
Clean.
I sweep and I sweep
Then mop and I mop.
I dip my broom in blood,
My mop in blood--
And blame you for this,
Because you are there,
Enemy.
It's hard to blame me,
Because I am here
So I kill you.
And you kill me.
My name,
Like your name,
Is war.

Authorship

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]