Gathering Bone

for mezzo-soprano and flute
2019

Gathering Bone is an exploration of the Norse creation myth of Ymir. The myth takes place in a primordial world involving a land of fire, land of ice, and the yawning gap in-between. Ymir is the hermaphroditic giant (jötunn) who dwells between the worlds. Óðinn and his brothers - for some reason - must slay the giant Ymir for the Earth to be created. Ymir’s skull becomes the sky, their bones the hills, their blood the sea. Rather than the traditionally valorized heroes of Norse myth, Gathering Bone explores the multiplicity of Ymir, grieves their shattering, and asks what remains of the whole among disparate fragments.

Premiered April 23, 2019 at Spectrum NYC in Brooklyn by Tessa Romano (mezzo soprano) and Elisa Muzzillo (flute).




Movements and text:

1. casting

2. perthro / passion permitting

From the place of fire, 
from the place of fire comes 

Surtr, the swarthy one.
Surtr, the swarthy one.
World destroyers -
from flame and chaos is endless expansion
from flame and chaos run the world destroyers.
Cloaked in soil, 
Realm builders
Realm destroyers.
To break, tear, asunder.
Wreck of the world
Beginning and wreck of the world
Beginning and wreck of the world
Wreck of the world
Wreck of the world

From the place of fire, 
from the place of fire comes 
we start our games 
we fly them
we spin our fates
our sputtering flame

what chaos permits
what passion permits
what chaos permits
what passion permits
the flame will take 
written in stone
written in stone
what the flame will take
what the flame will take
will never be the same. 
never be the same
what the flame will take
will never be the same
will never be the same.

written in stone
we cannot burn
we cannot burn 
what will come to pass. 



3. (interlude)

4. laguz / astral waters

Laguz,
Laguz
From Laguz,
Laguz
Unto Laguz
Life ever flowing
Wells from Mother
Dark Mother
Our world of ice
from which all melts
Become ocean.

Primal passage 
across astral waters
Ice become
Ice become
Laguz
Laguz
From Laguz
Laguz.

5. uruz (interlude)

Uruz, Uruz, Uruz
Auðhumbla, Uruz, Auðhumbla
Uruz
urging earthward
to shape creation.




6. shattering ymir
Here after your den of heroes!
Grasp your sedge
Sharp-tined sedge
with blood burns,
with blood burns -
your hunt of the Earth.
Hunt of the Earth

Shattering Ymir
Shattering Ymir, Ymir
Slay your beloved
Slay your beloved
Slay the beloved.
To never be sewn
to always be sewn
back together
before return to the 
world of men,
yew bows,
blood burns
never to be sewn
never to be sewn.

We slay beloved.

7.

8. your song in our bones
Upon our ridden roads,
on after the counsel wrath
we spin, we weave
chaos unto order
weave world around together

no fate but this
no fate but this
no fate
but to return
place your hands to Earth
we hear you.
Silent seeker,
your song in our bones.

You who were shattered
Mirror our hearts again
Bound to your flesh
Finger to bone
We are yours
We are ours.