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Seven Songs by David Haines

to poems by Charles Causley Give me a house (solo: Anne Yates)


Give me a house, said Polly
Charles Causley (1917-2003) was born and Give me land, said Hugh
brought up in Launceston, Cornwall, but he Give me the moon, said Sadie
also had strong links with Teignmouth and Give me the sun, said Sue
with the village of Trusham, a few miles up the
Teign Valley. The composer of this evening’s Give me a horse, said Rollo
songs, David Haines. got to know the poet Give me a hound, said Joe
when David was studying and Causley was in Give me fine linen, said Sarah
residence at the Banff School of Fine Arts, Give me silk, said Flo
Canada in the early 80’s. The poet told David
that he was “nearly born” at Brimley House, in Give me a mountain, said Kirsty
the same road David lives in, because his Give me a valley, said Jim
father worked for the local doctor who lived Give me a river, said Dodo
there. Give me the sky, said Tim

Teign Choral Society commissioned David to Give me the ocean, said Adam
set a series of poems by Causley and Keats Give me a ship, said Hal
(who also spent time in Teignmouth) in 1991, Give me a kingdom, said Rory
but tonight’s songs were commissioned by Give me a crown, said Sal
Trusham Village. Causley left the village (from
which most of his family originated) a large Give me gold, said Peter
legacy when he died and they held a weekend Give me silver, said Paul
celebration of his work last September, Give me love, said Jenny,
including the commissioning and first Or nothing at all
performance of these songs, funded by the
lottery-backed Awards for All Scheme. David Rattler Morgan
has done a new setting of “Teignmouth” for Now his eyes are bright farthings
this commission, quite different from his And he spindles
original setting 17 years ago. In seas deeper than death
His lips are no longer wet with wine
Teignmouth But gleam with wet salt
Teignmouth, ox-red sand and scree And the Gulf Stream is his breath
The pier`s long finger testing the sea
Now he is fumbled by ancient tides
Salt-damp deck-chairs along the Den Among decks flagged with seaweed
Pierrots singing, Here we are again! But no flags sees he there
His fingers are washed to stone
Sand-artist crimping the crocodile And to phosphor
Quartz for a yellow eye, shells for a smile And there are starfish in his hair

Punch kills the Baby the Mission sings a hymn


Through the level water the sailboats swim

My father, slick from his boots to his cap


Driving the Doctor`s pony and trap

Here`s my mother, lives next door


Strolling with a sun-shade the long blue shore

The sun and the day burn gold, burn green


August Bank Holiday, 1914

The tide runs grey; washes the world


Away, away
Trusham (solo: Ian Shields) The trees were leaved with song for all to
In this blown house my grandfather was born, hear
And here his father first unshook his bones
Walking the churchyard as a child, I saw The seas, the skies were blue
My slate name on their double page of stones With stars the beach was sown
Printing the endless shore,
The War Memorial - a lump of rock, A child: barefoot, alone
Upended rollers, length of iron twine -
Crests like a coaster the hill`s wave. I read What is this time, this place?
The bullet-coloured names. My father`s. Mine I hear you say
When was the wide world so?
In Rattle Street the mud is Flanders-thick Yesterday
An old man, shoulder-sacked against the rain
Under the drooping fingers of a rick The Parson and the Clerk
Asks, `What is it that brings you here again? The Clerk stands in the ocean,
The Parson on the land,
`You never married, and you`ve got no child From top to toe to fingertips
(I don`t know what your dad would say to Red as the Devon sand
that)
And you the only one. It seems to me The people of Teignmouth say
That when you`ve gone, the name will just go (And they say it at Shaldon, too)
scat` That the Parson and the Clerk
Are sandstone through and through,
How can I tell him that the sounding heart -
Oiled with the same old blood - can`t be And the story of how they came home
reset? Rather more drunk than dry
Useless to say that this particular flesh From a night with the Bishop of Exeter
Won`t scrape off, dry off, like the mud, the Is nothing more than a lie
wet
And there never was a storm
Beyond those pale disturbances of sky As they drove beside the bay
Another year assembles its vast floe That washed the horses to Babbacombe
Ice lines the turning air. It softens. Soon And the Parson and Clerk away
Advances from the west the carrion snow
Though when the morning came
Plymouth Along the salted shore
Soft as the night and silent as the snow, There stood two pillars of stone
Rain pours her arrows on the open city That never stood there before
The sailor and his fancy homeward go
And evening draws its shutters, as in pity And often some folk say,
If you stand quite still and hark,
Walking the sliding pavements, my feet The Parson is taking a service
Fiery as angels on the blazing stair, With responses from the Clerk
I heard a strangling cornet in the street
Volley its music on the falling air But only the Parson and Clerk
Know the truth of the tale
Blow, cornet, blow over the lurching channel And gently both of them wink an eye
Where the sleek sea for ever draws her comb! As they stand on the sand and the shale
A million matelots in the long sea-tunnel
Hear your thin rumours, and remember home Says the Parson to the Clerk,
`Perhaps it is just as well
Summer was always sun (solo:Stephanie For the sake of their peace of mind
Green) That they think we are stone and shell
Summer was always sun,
Winter was made of snow, `And whether the day is bright
Forward the spring, the fall was slow Or the night is wild and dark
Shall we let them believe it is so?`
Down from the moor the stream `Amen`, says the Clerk
Ran swift, ran clear

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