The Music of Elizabeth Alexander

The Earth Called To My Friend

A memorial song which wholeheartily embraces the vitality of life

Words by Nancy Wood

A song of memorial that heartily embraces the vitality of life. With a lyric by Nancy Wood and a sparkling musical setting, this song celebrates life and death, rain and drought, and the cherished memory of “the wild old dances of our youth.”

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The Earth Called To My Friend

The Earth called to my friend and he went,
Deep into the Earth Root from which he came,
Down into Blue Lake where our ancestors dwell,
Deep into the heart of the Yellow Corn Maiden,
To a place of beauty and light.

I watched the sky for a long time and then I saw
A cloud in the shape of my friend,
Riding a fine white horse with wings so big
They blotted out the sun, making shadows
Across my withered fields of corn.

I called to my friend to ask if he was happy
And if he knew more than when he left.
I called out his name and blessed him
With an eagle feather, dancing in his behalf
The wild old dances of our youth.

Good-bye, my friend, I said, watching the clouds
Crumble into little pillows that fell as rain
Into the dryness of my fields.

Nancy Wood
© 1972 by Nancy Wood. From Hollering Sun (Simon & Schuster). Reprinted by permission of the author



Premiere: Musicians of Union Elementary School and Farmington High School / Mattie Banzhaf and Janet Fantozzi (Farmington, CT)
Good Company! / Steven Hoifeldt (Ames, IA)
John Hubert, baritone and Kristen Jürgens, piano (Denver, CO)
Union Elementary School Choir / Mattie Banzhaf (Hartford, CT)
The National Children’s Chorus / Luke McEndarfer (Los Angeles, CA)
Saint Mary’s College Women’s Choir / Nancy Menk (Notre Dame, IN)
University of North Carolina Women’s Glee Club / Sue Klausmeyer (Chapel Hill, NC)