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dead winter dead - the story
Dead Winter Dead

In the Bosnian capital of Sarajevo, there is a town square surrounded by buildings that were constructed during the middle ages. The square has a beautiful stone fountain at its center and at one corner there is a thousand year old church with a gargoyle carved into its belfry. Now this gargoyle, for the last thousand years, has spent all his time trying to comprehend the human emotions of laughter and sorrow. But even after a millennium of contemplation, these most curious of human attributes remain a total mystery to our stone friend. (Sarajevo)

Our story begins in the year of 1990; the Berlin Wall has just fallen, communism has collapsed and for the first time since the Roman Empire, Yugoslavia finds itself a free nation. Serdjan Aleskovic cannot believe his good fortune to be alive and young at such a moment. The future and the happiness of all seem assured in what must surely be "the best of times". (This Is The Time)

However, even as Serdjan celebrates with his fellow countrymen, there are little men with little minds who are already busy sowing the seeds of hate between neighbors. (I Am) Young and impressionable Serdjan joins some of his friends in a Serbian Militia Unit and eventually finds himself in the hills outside of Sarajevo firing mortar shells nightly into the city. (Starlight) Meanwhile in Sarajevo itself, Katrina Brasic, a young Muslim girl, finds herself buying weapons from a group of arms merchants and then joining her comrades firing into the hills around the city. (Doesn't Matter Anyway)

The years pass by and it is now late November 1994. An old man who had left Yugoslavia many decades before, has now returned to the city of his birth, only to find it in ruins. As the season's first snowfall begins, he stands in the town square, looks toward the heavens and explains that when the Yugoslavians prayed for change, this is not what they intended. (This Isn't What We Meant)

As the old man finishes his prayer, the sun begins to set and the first shells of the evening's artillery barrage are starting to arc overhead. But instead of heading for the shelters with the rest of the civilians, he climbs atop the rubble that used to be the fountain and taking out his cello, starts to play Mozart as the shells explode around him. From this night forward he would repeat this ritual every evening. And every evening Serdjan and Katrina each find themselves listening to the thoughts of Mozart and Beethoven as the drift between the explosions across no man's land. (Mozart and Madness)

Though the winter does its best to cover the landscape with a blanket of temporary innocence, the war only escalates in violence and brutality. (Dead Winter Dead) One day in late December, Serdjan, on a patrol in Sarajevo, comes across a schoolyard where a recent exploding shell has left the ground littered with the bodies of young children. It is one thing to drop shells into a mortar and quite another to see where they land. Long after Serdjan returns to his own lines, he cannot get the faces of the children out of his mind. Realizing that what he has been participating in is not the glorious nation building that their leaders had described, but rather a path to mutual oblivion, he decides right then and there that he can no longer be a part of this, that you cannot build a future on the bodies of others. (One Child) At the first opportunity, he resolves that he will desert.

Sitting in his bunker on December 24th, he listens to the sounds of Christmas carols from the old cello player mingling with the sounds of war. Katrina, on the other side of the battlefield, is also listening. (Christmas Eve/Sarajevo 12/24) It had just stopped snowing and the clouds had given way to reveal a beautiful star-filled sky when suddenly the cellos player's music abruptly ceases. Fearing the worst, Serdjan and Katrina both do something quite foolish and from their respective sides, start to make their way across no man's land toward the town square. Arriving at the exact same moment, they see one another. Instinctively realizing that they are both there for the same reason, they do not start to fight, but instead, together walk slowly to the fountain. There they find the old man lying dead in the snow, his face covered with blood, his cello lying smashed and broken at his side.

Then without warning, a single drop of liquid falls from out of the cloudless sky, wiping some of the blood off the old man's cheek. Serdjan looks up, but he can see nothing except the stone gargoyle high up on the church belfry. Overcome by what he has seen this night, he decides that he must leave this war immediately. Turning to the Muslim girl, he asks her to come with him, but now all she sees is his Serbian uniform. Pouring out his feelings, he explains that he is not what she thinks that he is. (Not What You See) Eventually winning her to his side, they leave the night together.

Overture

Sarajevo

In the town of Sarajevo
There's an old medieval square
There's a church aside one corner
Most believe was always there

It was built a thousand years before
Any now were born
And its glory was its belfry
With its stones all gray and worn

Now there's a gargoyle on that belfry
And he's been up there for years
And he has watched and he has pondered
What is laughter
What are tears

For these peculiar institutions
That are so well known to man
When your heart is made of stone
Are quite hard to understand

And he's never found his answers
As he sees the years go by
But he watches and he wonders
With his stone unblinking eyes

It was the year of nineteen-ninety
and the Berlin wall was down
and a thousand years regretted
now laid burried in the ground

and the prophets read the future
and the omans all seemed kind
in the classic words of Dickens
it surely was the best of times

This is the time (1990)

Watching in silence
I hesitate
It was not in the plan
All of our lives we could
Only wait
It was not in our hands

And every war where we took the day
They were all in our head
And though in the dark we could dream at night
They were better unsaid

But this is the time
And this is the place
And these are the signs
That we must embrace

The moment is now
In all history
The time has arrived
This is the one place to be

We placed our years in the hourglass
They were never unearned
Still we seemed destined to watch them pass
It was never our turn

But this is the time
And this is the place
And those are the years
That we must erase

The moment is now
In all history
If we had to choose
This is the one place to be

And a wind came across Europe
that would twist and turn our fate
for as well as bringing freedom
it had let loose men of hate

now these men were few in number
and the people threw them out
but in the mind of each man's neighbour
they had planned seeds of doubt

The answer you seek / I am

I see a little man
Sitting and he's wondering
If over his little plot
He might be king
And he finds his present world
A little boring

There's no
Land that is so small
That it cannot be divided
So come, I'll draw the line
And you just pick your side
Ignoring anyone who gives a warning

For I am
The answer you seek
The dream in your sleep
You never wanted to awaken

I have the plan that won't fail
The crime without trail And all I really need right now is you

I see a little man thinking
That he might need more
And so his eyes are drifting
To the house next door
And he wonders if his neighbours
Might be leaving

So he makes a little offer
That they'll understand
There is no point in letting
Things get out of hand
For no one wants to see
Their windows grieving

For I am
The answer you seek
The dream in your sleep You never wanted to awaken

I have the plan that won't fail
The crime without trail
And all I really need right now is you

I see a little man sitting
And he's wondering
I see a little man sitting
And he's wondering

All I really need right now is you
All I really need right now is you
All I really need right now is you

In every book of history
it is written how it's done
if you want to change the world
you need only change the young

and Serdjan Aleksic
stared deeply through the night
but your vision's not the same
when you're staring through a sight

and a riffle's not enough
when you don't wish others well
so he angled out his mortar
and he dropped in his first shell

Starlight

We never fear the night
We bring our own starlight

Dropped on the world below
Wait for the afterglow

And in the dark they wed
We're dancing with the dead

And if the ground's been stained
colors run int the rain

Run away
No delay
Do we have to show you

Don't expect
Mercy yet
We don't even know you

Hear the press
Nothing less
Saying that we don't care

Understand
It's the land
And you'd have to
Be there

We never contemplate
We only offer fate
And in the night they are
Flowering the dark

Filling the sky with red
Till all their needs are fed
Then like a childhood tear
They quickly disappear

Run away
No delay
Do we have to show you

Don't expect
Mercy yet
We don't even know you

Hear the press
Nothing less
Saying that we don't care

Understand
It's the land
And you'd have to
Be there

In the world of death and murder
they're those who do the deed
but waiting in the shadows
are the men sho sewed the seeds

they make their thirty-pieces
selling guns to all who pay
and when bullets pierce the flesh
they are safely far away

and back in Sarajevo
a girl stood inside a room
listening to men calling merchants offer guns to forestall doom

they said they came to help
when muslims plight they'd heard
but what they had some how failed to mention
was they said the same things to the serbs

Doesn't matter anyway

It don't matter
What you said
In the mind of some one
You are now dead

And what makes it bad
Is there living next door
So you'll need some weapons
And that's what I'm here for

Seems we got us a war

AK-47
Tom Cat, F-11
Hardly ever used
Tell me what am I bid

You on the back wall
This is the last call
Better buy 'em now
Or you'll wish that you did

You'll wish that you did

I know
You know
In this world you gotta pay
It's all for sale
What's your side
You couldn't say

It doesn't matter anyway

Claymore land mines
Anti-personal kind
Good for marking borders
And they're easy to hide

Buried once in the ground
Only one way they're found
Another fine product
We deliver with pride

We'll made a deal on the side

M-ones
Ammo too
Stinger Missiles
Got a few
Better get 'em now
While we have 'em in store

Good for a last stand
Straight out of Afghanistan
If you never use 'em
You can save 'em
Till your next civil war

Cause that's what they're for

I know
You know
In this world you gotta pay
It's all for sale
What's your side
You couldn't say

It doesn't matter anyway

The old man had toured the earth
playing cello for the learned
of a thousand foreign cities
only now he had returned

to the city he had left once
to the place where he was raised
in the house where he was born in
at the fires he now gazed

This isn't what we meant

We dared to ask for more
But that was long before
The nights began to burn
You would have thought we'd
Learned you can't make promises
All based upon tomorrow
Happiness, security
Are words we only borrow

For is this the answer to our prayers
Is this what God has sent

Please understand this isn't what we meant

The future couldn't last
We've nailed it to the past
With every word a trap
That no one can take

Back from all the architects
Who find their towers leaning
And every prayer we pray at night
Has somehow lost its meaning

For is this the answer to our prayers
Is this what God has sent

Please understand this isn't what we meant

A long time ago
When the world was pretty
Standing right here
In a different city

They're not coming back anymore
They're not coming back any....

Is this the answer to our prayers
Is this what God has sent
Please understand this isn't what we meant

Then he climed atop the rubble
of the fountain in the square
and he took his cello out
in the cold november air

and as the twilight started setting
on the remnants of this day
as the shells began to fall
the old man began to play

and in the darkness of that night
each on their own respective sides
the muslim and the serb
would watch their country's suicide

but now inside each evening
they had found a moments calm
when they'd hear the thought of Mozart
as they filtered through the bombs

Mozart and Madness

(Instrumental-the old man plays his cello
as the shelling starts, the orchestra comes
in representing the muslims, followed by the
band representing the serbs. During the
occasional lulls, in the fighting, the lone
cello drifts across the battlefields.)

And who will love the incest child
of ignorance and hatred
who though she's standing in the rain
no tear has penetrated

for while they banter bout their words
you must be careful where your tread
for no matter what they promise
rumor is that dead is dead

Memory / Dead Winter Dead intro

Dead Winter Dead

Feel the rush
Feel the rush
In the back of your head
Breathe it in
Breathe it in
Isn't that what they said

As you stood in the night
Neath the glow of their fires
Watch it burn
Watch it burn
Watch it reach through the night

Feel the heat
Feel the heat
As you bask in its light

And the puppets hang upon their wires

I've lost my way
Kneel down and pray
It all decays
It takes me

Down
Down
Down
Like the minister said
Like the minister said

Where this all has led

Dead winter dead

Can you hear what I hear
In the back of your mind
When you stand on the stage
And they tell you it's time

To read words from a past
You can't remember

Gotta keep
What you have
Tell me what is it for
If it made sense my friend
Well then not anymore

Every dream I'm told has its december

I've lost my way
Kneel down and pray
It all decays
It takes me

Down
Down
Down
Like the minister said
Like the minister said

Where this all has led

Dead winter dead

And when he came upon the schoolyard
there were bodies on the floor
every war must have its bodies
but this my friend was so much more

for the mind get's used to bodies
whether singly or in piles
but it cuts the mind more deeply
when the body is a child's

One Child

One child stood before the altar
One child stood out in the rain
One child spent his time imagining
And I don't believe he's coming home again
Home again
Home again
Home a

Right here in the earth
I've been drawing a line
I'm digging it deep
Don't know if I'll find
A tunnel out so we all can be saved?
If not just take that earth
And bury me
Cause this will be my grave

One child hid inside the darkness
One child never said a thing
One child closed his eyes and disappeared
But at night I still can hear him whispering
Whispering
Whisper

Right there in the earth
I've been drawing a line
I'm diggin it deep
Don't know what I'll find
A tunnel out so we all can be saved?
If not just take that earth
And bury me
For this will be my grave

I will believe in you
If you still want me to
Or tell me I'm on my own

There on your other side
Tell me the pilate's died
And we're no longer alone

Take your answers
And your promises
Believe me I don't care

I have held on to your words
Until I found them only air

I have held on to your words
Until I found them only air

What good are your promises
If you can always take them back

Still I've hang on every word
Till my hands are bleeding

I will believe in you
If you still want me to
Or tell me I'm on my own

There on the other side
Tell me the pilate's died
And we're no longer alone

We had no choice but to stay and follow
We have nothing left except tomorrow
We have nothing left except what will be

What we need there are some real decisions
While you only offer mindless visions
Visions that no one else here can see

We're on our own
We're on our own
We're on our

Right there in the earth
I've been drawing a line
I'm digging it deep
Don't know what I'll find
A tunnel out so we all can be saved?
If not just take that earth
And bury me
For this will be my grave

Now though the old are oft forgotten
they tend not to forget
and the old man came each night
and played his soul's regret

but this night the sound cut deeper
as if the soul itself would leave
for snow covered the ground
and the night was Christmas-eve

Christmas Eve (Sarajevo 12/24)

(Instrumental-The old man has been
returning every night since november and
playing his music, as if to prove that the soul
of his country, of humanity, was not dead)

When the shells had ceased their falling
the young muslim and the serb
listened for the old man's music
but now not a note was heard

and fearing what had happened
each did, what should not be dared
and made their way through no man's land
to the old medieval square

they arrived at the same moment
in the cold december air
but neighter pulled a weapon
for each knew why they were there

and they walked over to the fountain
and found him laying there in death
there was blood upon his face
the smashed cello on his chest

but then a single drop of liquid
fell from out the cloudless sky
and it fell upon the cheek
of the man who had just died

and the soldier felt a shudder
for the worst had come he feared
when the only sign of pitty
was a single gargoyle's tear

he turned to the young woman
and he said let's leave this was
but a soldier and his uniform
was all that she now saw

Not What You See

No life's so short it can't turn around
You can't spend your life living underground
For from above you don't hear a sound

And I'm out here
Waiting
I don't understand what you want me to be

It's the dark you're
hating
It's not who I am
But I know that it's all that you see

No life's so short that it never learns
No flame so small that it never burns
No page so sure that it never turns

And I'm out here
Waiting
I don't understand what you want me to be

It's the dark you're
Hating
It's not who I am
But I know that it's all that you see

Can you live your life ia a day
Putting every moment in play
Never hear a word that they say
As you watch the wheels go around

Tell me if you win would it show
In a thousand years who would know
As a million lives come and go
On this same piece of ground

I've been waiting
I don't understand what you want me to be
It's the dark you're hating
It's not who I am
But I know that it's all that you see

Tell me would you really want to
See me leave this night without you
Would you ever look about you
Wondering where we might be

New York is so far away now
Tokyo, Berlin and Moscow
Only dreams from here but somehow
One day that world we will see

I don't understand
I don't understand

I swear on tomorrow
If you take this chance
Our lives are this moment
The music, the dance
And here in this labyrinth
Of lost mysteries
I close my eyes on this night
And you're all that I see

You're all that I see

Then they left the square together
neath the fading fires light
and the gargoyle watched and wondered
on that winter's silent night

and so our story's over
and for any one who cares
as for the old gargoyle
I believe that he's still there

THE END