Oh, I Am Calling

Words 1998 Megaera Vittum Fitch

Music & Arrangement 1999 Gordon Bok

 

Meg lives in Vermont on the family farm; her house is the barn they used to store extra hay in. She has been writing since the teacher in her school encouraged her in the third grade. She is a member of VIBES!, a poetry and performing group working out of Vermont.

 

These are two of the many poems Meg has swapped with me over the years, part of an ongoing conversation. I took them on tour with me one fall, and during a 3-day layover in New Hampshire, wrote the music to them.

 

Our chorus has no director; when we need one we coerce one from the ranks. My thanks to Mimi Bornstein-Doble for guiding this particular song through all the work it took to get it there.

 

The Quasimodal Chorus

 

I.

Oh, I am calling, I am calling

My calling cross the waters

Cross the mighty waters

Downfolding clouds enfold me

Enclosing fears behold me

 

Oh, I am calling, I am calling

O, Nester cross the waters

Cross the mighty waters

Bring down your wings about me

To shield from them who'd rout me

 

Oh, I am calling, I am calling

O Mother, cross the waters

Cross the mighty waters

Storm between me and my fears

They prickle the hills with spears

 

Oh, I am calling, I am calling

O Flame-heart cross the waters

Cross the mighty waters

Circle me with fire now

Enfold me in your pyre now

 

Oh, I am calling, I am calling

O Child come cross the waters

Dance me down the silver shore

And lead me from the River's roar

 

Oh, I am calling, I am calling

O Singer, cross the waters

Cross the mighty waters

Ring me round with sacred song

And pull me from the darkened throng

 

Oh, I am calling, I am calling

O I will cross the waters

Cross the mighty waters

Lay my feet on the flaming foam

And ride my song through darkness home

 

II.

Chickadee of the clutching toe

Nutchatch of the creaking voice

Blackbird of the twirling song

Redtail of the longing fall

Birds all of marsh and meadow

 

I hear you, you

Am I yours now? yours?

 

Ancient tree on the mountain brow

Windy curled, tough and small

Dead elm in the singing swamp

Summer home of bug and bird

Nut bearers, seed trailers

 

I hear you, you

Am I yours now? yours?

 

Leaf meal, snake trail

Crow call, fox squall

Toad song, ant throng

Tree quiet, peeper riot

Duck nesting, beaver tasting

 

I hear you, you

Am I yours now? yours?

 

Sudden cliff and long lake

Hard thin dirt, shaling stone

Glacial waste on the northern land

Spill of meadow, stream tumble

Stone walls of lost borders

 

I hear you, you

Am I yours now? yours?

 

Running through the cold dew

Hunting cows in the misty swamp

Leaning on their warm sides

Trailing spring, green sour sweet

To summer stubble, dry and sharp

 

My ears loved, skin loved

Eyes loved, thick skinned feet

Loved their way over

Farm lands, up thawed brook

Through air of song and silence

 

Do you hear me, me?

Are you mine now? mine?

 

Garden dust and roses bloom

Grape green to misty blue

Every berry of wood and pasture

Split sweet on lip and tongue

 

Do you hear me, me?

Are you mine now? mine?

 

Coming here, homing here

Standing here on loved ground

The ground curves, rocks and sings

I rock and sing my home to heart

My heart to home to hope

To long, long, long hope

To wing and root and stone and stream

And sky and wind and star

 

And small, bright eye in naked wood

Laughing, laughing, laughing

 

Do you hear me, me?

Are you mine now? mine?

 

 

Oh I Am Calling is recorded on the album Dear To Our Island; it is also available in sheet music for SATB chorus