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David Potts-Dupre: Music

Vladimir

(David Potts-Dupre)
June 4, 2014
David Potts-Dupre
This is a song about my father's experience in a conscientious objector camp during World War II. He served near Waldport, Oregon, in a camp where the men crushed rocks to build roads and planted literally millions of trees. The camp became the CO Fine Arts Camp and CO's from all over transferred there. Amazing artists, writers, musicians, actors (including my mother), etc. A book has just been published about this camp -- "Here on the Edge" by Steve McQuiddy. He posits that the art ended up influencing the San Francisco scene in the 50s and the 60s.
Vladimir David Potts-Dupre © 2014

On the edge of madness, on the edge of grief
On the edge of country, I came looking for peace
On the edge of hubris, on the edge of belief
On the edge of war, I came for peace

World War II was raging, fervor in the air
Drafted to the army, I made my stand right there
I filed for CO status, and a coward I was called
I did not bow to pressure, I stood proud, I stood tall

I ended up near Waldport, Camp 56 it was
All from different backgrounds, all shared a common cause
On the windswept shores of Oregon, we served the nation’s needs
We crushed rocks, we built roads, we felled and planted trees

We soon became the Fine Arts Camp, it drew from far and wide
Days we worked until we dropped, nights we fought the tide
We knew the art would not ring true, not in that time at least
Someday our voices might be heard, when the wars have finally ceased

I served with honest men, each one a pacifist
I felt a close and solid bond, among these activists
We were young, perhaps naïve, but to this day I’ll say
That when and if we all find peace, there was a part we played

Men fought and died for a just cause, Hitler had to go
Would I choose the same path now, knowing what I know
But I never dodged, I never ran, I served in my own way
And I held firm to my beliefs, and I hold them to this day

I’m almost 94 now, time is nearing end
Those years on the Oregon Coast, as clear now as then
And to those times and to those men, I make this honest pledge
To always swim against the tide, to live here on the edge
To always swim against the tide, to live here on the edge