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I am the World (2022)

for SATB Choir | 00:07:00

by Melissa Dunphy | text by Dora Sigerson Shorter

Commissioned by BBC Radio 3 and first performed by the BBC Singers, conducted by Grace Rossiter, on 8 March 2022 at Temple Church, London. The program marked International Women’s Day with a live broadcast of music by leading women composers of the 21st Century.


I am the song, that rests upon the cloud;
I am the sun:
I am the dawn, the day, the hiding shroud,
When dusk is done.

I am the changing colours of the tree;
The flower uncurled:
I am the melancholy of the sea;
I am the world.

The other souls that, passing in their place,
Each in their groove;
Out-stretching hands that chain me and embrace,
Speak and reprove.

"O atom of that law, by which the earth
Is poised and whirled;
Behold! you hurrying with the crowd assert
You are the world."

Am I not one with all the things that be
Warm in the sun?
All that my ears can hear, or eyes can see,
Till all be done.

Of song and shine, of changing leaf apart,
Of bud uncurled:
With all the senses pulsing at my heart,
I am the world.

One day the song that drifts upon the wind,
I shall not hear;
Nor shall the rosy shoots to eyes grown blind
Again appear.

Deaf, in the dark, I shall arise and throw
From off my soul,
The withered world with all its joy and woe,
That was my goal.

I shall arise, and like a shooting star
Slip from my place;
So lingering see the old world from afar
Revolve in space.

And know more things than all the wise may know
Till all be done;
Till One shall come who, breathing on the stars,
Blows out the sun.

Artwork by William Blake (adapted by Matt Dunphy)


Performances

  • 08 Mar, 2022: BBC Singers at Temple Church, London, United Kingdom