This is a recent portal (about two years ago) into the dawn of my creative collaboration with Gerda Wilson. It was very exciting for me, after growing up in her choir, to discover I could get to know her as a fellow adult and even contribute to her projects. She the brilliant music composer needed lyrics and story adaptation for a Native American Lore: “A Tale of Bear’s Tail”. The tale goes that once upon a time Bear had a long, beautiful tail and was very vain about it. Fox was just as vain about his tail, and so the opening song planned for the musical is called “Beauty Contest”. The actors playing Bear and Fox (members of a children’s choir) have solos and then the choir leads into the next scene with a foreboding chorus.
Here are my lyrics (and if you are very lucky you are in the right city to hear them sung to Gerda’s music!)
Lovely and long; how do you go on
With a tail less glossy than mine?
Give yours a wave, see how it goes like a rat tail
Slithering, dragging and dithering
Flopping so feebly in snow
That’s such a laugh! How can you be proud
Of a tail as black as a coal?
Soot has no glow; look how well mine
Dizzies and dazzles, fizzes and frazzles
Yours turns to ash in the snow
Flashing in cold sun
Flip, flip, flip
The frost has come
Guard what you possess
And what you love
Nip, nip, nip
From winter’s glove