Amo ergo sum

I love therefore I am

Music: Sheena Phillips, Words: Kathleen Raine

Voicing: solo voice or choir, equal or mixed voices

Performance time approx: 3m 00s

Range: Upper voices: a — g'' / Lower voices: A — g

Price code: C


This ecstatic paean to the natural world should be sung with the freedom and flow of ancient plainchant. Generally, let each black-headed note last for roughly the same amount of time, creating a smoothed out but somewhat speech-like rhythm. Small note-heads indicate slightly shorter note values; unfilled note-heads indicate longer durations, as of course do fermata. Triplet markings suggest roughly three notes in the space of two. Let the dynamics vary naturally with the rise and fall of the phrases. The grace notes (last line of page one) should be sung strongly and as if on the beat.

Different phrases can be apportioned ad lib to different sections of the choir if the wide range of the piece is difficult to cover as a group.

Because I love
     The sun pours out its rays of living gold
     Pours out its gold and silver on the sea.

Because I love
     The earth upon her astral spindle winds
     Her ecstasy-producing dance. 

Because I love
     Clouds travel on the winds through wide skies,
     Skies wide and beautiful, blue and deep. 

Because I love
     Wind blows white sails,
     The wind blows over flowers, the sweet wind blows. 

Because I love
     The ferns grow green, and green the grass, and green
     The transparent sunlit trees.

Because I love
     Larks rise up from the grass
     And all the leaves are full of singing birds. 

Because I love
     The summer air quivers with a thousand wings,
     Myriads of jewelled eyes burn in the light. 

Because I love
     The iridescent shells upon the sand
     Take forms as fine and intricate as thought. 

Because I love
     There is an invisible way across the sky,
     Birds travel by that way, the sun and moon
     And all the stars travel that path by night. 

Because I love
     There is a river flowing all night long. 

Because I love
     All night the river flows into my sleep,
     Ten thousand living things are sleeping in my arms,
     And sleeping wake, and flowing are at rest. 

Kathleen Raine
from Selected Poems (Golgonooza Press, 1988)

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Amo ergo sum

Sheena Phillips

solo voice or choir, equal or mixed voices

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