A Shining Peace
SATB chorus, tenor or soprano solo, piano
Text: Rupert Brooke sonnet, “The Dead”
Awarded Top Honors by Waging Peace Through Singing, 2002
Premiere—2002. by the University of Oregon University Singers, Sharon Paul, cond.
Published by ECS. Distributed by Canticle.
Rupert Brooke’s sonnet, “The Dead,” is the fourth in a group of five sonnets by the English poet collectively titled 1914, written a few months after the outbreak of World War I and the voluntary enlistment of its author in the British Navy. He died in April 1915, not in combat, but of sepsis from a mosquito bite. “The Dead” had been published in the Times Literary Supplement the month before.
These hearts were woven of human joys and cares,
Washed marvelously with sorrow, swift to mirth.
The years had given them kindness. Dawn was theirs,
And sunset, and the colors of the earth.
These had seen movement, and heard music; known
Slumber and waking; loved; gone proudly friended;
Felt the quick stir of wonder; sat alone;
Touched flowers and furs and cheeks. All this is ended.
There are waters blown by changing winds to laughter
And lit by the rich skies, all day. And after,
Frost, with a gesture, stays the winds that dance
And wandering loveliness. He leaves a white
Unbroken glory, a gathered radiance,
A width, a shining peace, under the night.