Dating back to when I stood, as a ten year old, on the Gettysburg battlefield site, at the spot where Pickett began his ill-fated charge, the ease with which men choose to go to war has always entirely baffled me. Always possessed of a vivid imagination, standing there with the sounds and terrors of battle raging in my mind, I had an intense realization that grown-ups who could bring this upon themselves, for any reason, were insane. I knew the world could and should be different, and grown-ups who chose otherwise were not to be trusted.
While I can intellectually explain to myself the many reasons that men are led into war, emotionally I never can quite get it. The logic of peace seems so profound, why invent reasons to go to war – but men do – for all the wrong reasons, whether money, power, boredom, rage or whatever.
A deep underlying belief that peace is possible, despite all evidence to the contrary, has motivated my inner life ever since that sunny afternoon walking across that field of knee high grass. It has certainly motivated my musical life, as I continue to write music intended to inspire thoughts about the possibility of peace. My most recent work in that vein sets, for mezzo soprano and orchestra, seven poems from a powerful anthology edited by the American poet Sam Hamill, in which he collected the best from submissions by over 11,000 poets who responded to his call, in the year following 9/11, for poems to protest the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. A side benefit of my working on this music was connecting, via LI and FB, with the poets, sharing the common desire that reasonableness would prevail over war. There is always another way, if people only search for it.