“Give Joan a Sword,” commissioned by Kantorei

Denver’s premier choral ensemble Kantorei, under the direction of Joel Rinsema, has commissioned Hagen to write a piece for their final concerts this season.


Contemporary women composers hold the spotlight in these concerts dubbed “Vox Femina” (the female voice). Hagen is honored to be featured alongside the works of celebrated composers Ysaye Barnwell, Jennifer Higdon, Cecilia McDowall, Meredith Monk, and Sarah Quartel.


Hagen has chosen the following text “Give Joan a Sword,” by Sister M. Thérèse, in honor of the 100th anniversary of the canonization of Joan of Arc on May 16, 2020.


Concert and ticket information here: https://kantorei.org/concerts/voxfemina/


Give Joan a Sword


The night down on Domrémy,

Dark wings have circled every tree,

Shut out the stars and steeped the sky

In anguish lifted like a cry.


Shaking the young stars from her gown,

Pushing the moon back, Joan peers down

On lands by terror twisted bare

That shake with battle everywhere.


A blight is on the world again;

A blight is in the souls of men;

And dark is death and dark is birth

As sorry runs along the earth.


How can she keep her soul in calm

When towers of Rheims and Notre Dame

Send up their cry of muted bells

That tear her heart with moans and knells?


How must her hands have ached to hold

Her shining sword when pain patrolled

The glory-riddled crimson shore

Of Bataan, and Corregidor.


How must her lips have burned to cry

A challenge to the southern sky

For heroes who would never see

The sunset stain the Coral Sea.


Young Joan is restless in the sky;

Young Joan is burning to defy

The sign that sickens men with pride;

Back to the wars young Joan would ride!


To rout this bitter pagan horde,

O God of peace, give Joan a sword!

And in this moment send her down

To Domrémy, to every town!


~ Sister M. Thérèse



Posted on

October 14, 2019

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