The Bird Sings Oral Tradition Song Library


This song was written by Ferron, a pioneering songwriter in the women’s and LGBT movements. It has been covered by many artists including Holly Near and Sweet Honey in the Rock. In this arrangement I’ve added a continuous vocal bass line and fleshed out harmonies for choral singing. The melody is in the high part.

Composer & Copyright

Original song by Ferron, arranged for Wholehearted Chorus by Lisa G. Littlebird.



There’s godlike, and warlike
And strong like only some show
And there’s sadlike, and madlike
And had – like we know

By my life be I spirit
And by my heart be I warrior*
And by my eyes be I open
And by my hands be I whole

They say slowly brings the least shock
But no matter how slow I walk
There are traces, empty spaces
And doors and doors of locks


Low singers:
You young ones, you’re the next ones
And I hope you choose it well
Though you try hard, you may fall prey
To the jaded jewel

Chorus (with your lives, your hearts, etc.)

High singers:
Listen, there are waters, hidden from us
In the maze we find them still
We’ll take you to them, you take your young ones
May they take their own in turn

Chorus (with our lives, our hearts, etc.)

*In the original version the word is “women”, changed here to warrior for singing by mixed chorus.

  • Nerida

    Oh Lisa, This is so beautiful and powerful. Is there any chance at all of getting the sheet music for this. I run a couple of choirs in Australia and they would LOVE this!

    • Lisa G.

      I’m sorry I don’t currently have sheet music for any of the songs in my library Nerida. Thank you for visiting!

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