Mass for the Endangered

muziek Sarah Kirkland Snider
libretto Nathaniel Bellows
Deborah Johnson / CandyStations

I. Kyrie

Kyrie Eleison

On earth, air, and water,
have mercy.
On stone, tree, and flower,
have mercy.
World have mercy.

Kyrie Eleison

Give mercy to all wing and paw,
mercy to all creed and claw,
on flower, seed, leaf, and root.
Give mercy to all broods and tribes,
mercy to all nests and prides;
to tide and spring, squall and breeze,
to those who plead for calm and peace,
not hunted, hounded, poisoned, fleeced.

To barren, poisoned land:
Forgive us.
To the vanished, and the left:
Forgive us.
World forgive us.

Mercy on this refuge,
this braided boundless stone.
Mercy for their old,
mercy for their young.

And mercy now
for what we've done.

Kyrie Eleison

II. Gloria

Gloria in excelsis Deo.
Et in terra pax
hominibus bonæ voluntatis.

Laudamus te; benedicimus te;
adoramus te; glorificamus te.
Gratias agimus tibi
propter magnam gloriam tuam.

Domine Deus, Rex caelestis,
Deus Pater omnipotens.
Domine Fili unigenite Jesu Christe.
Domine Deus, Agnus Dei,
Filius Patris.

Qui tollis peccata mundi,
miserere nobis.
Qui tollis peccata mundi,
suscipe deprecationem nostram.
Qui sedes ad dextram Patris,
O miserere nobis.

Quoniam tu solus Sanctus,
tu solus Dominus,
tu solus Altissimus, Jesu Christe.
Cum Sancto Spiritu
in gloria Dei Patris.


III. Alleluia

Sea of cradle, foundling,
current, cold and quelled as morning.
Braid of vapored ashes,
shadowed creche, collapsing.

Contour, carve, corrode—
breathe through camphor, coal,
seed each breeze with gold.
Poison, parch, pollute—
plow the coast, the dune,
flow toward constant moon.


Hearth of stone, of tar, of lava,
shelter shielding mother.
Oh, save us mother!

She who is sleeping,
Is she who will wake.

Fracture, foist, defoul—
shatter cliff and shoal,
sand each stone to whole.
Harbored, held, unharmed—
she’ll wake, rise, rejoin,
her daughters and her sons.


IV. Credo

We believe in stone and moss,
sand and grass. Land limned on loam,
haven to the harmed and the whole,
the lesser and the left, the spirit housed
in the opposite.

We believe in all
who are offset.

We believe in the blessing of wing,
angelic, ingenious—every
soaring thing. We believe in the holy
pelt and fin, hoary hide and shell.
The armor of every beast is blessed,
adorned in their own regalia.

Mercy, now,
on all animalia.

Take no tooth or tusk, steal no
heart, hair, or husk.
Et expecto…
No shark robbed of its fin, no mink
denied its skin.
resurrectionem mortuorum et vitam venturi saeculi…
No bath in bowls of salted blood
And I await the life of the world to come…
no cove for corpse, no reddened veldt.

A flora fashioned, valued, known
to heal the mind and mend the bone.

We believe in all who are voiceless.
We believe in all who are at risk.
We believe in all who are helpless.
We believe in all who are at risk.

Lay down the spear, lay down the hook,
lay down the gun, the knife, the net.
No majesty in poison. No virtue in
the snare. No salvation in a strangled spirit.

We believe in songs at daybreak,
cries and calls at dusk.
In quell and coo, drone and hum,
in hovel, hollow, river, pond.

We believe in listen. We believe
in wish. And to be worthy of
their gift: this chance to look
within ourselves and change how
we have lived, to change
how we have lived.

We believe in all who are offset.
We believe in all who are outcast.
We believe in all who are voiceless.
We believe in all who are stranded.
We believe in all who are stalwart.
We believe in all who are fearless.
Expecto vitam venturi saeculi …
We believe in all who are dauntless.
And I await the life of the world to come…

We believe in all offset, outcast, voiceless, stranded,
stalwart, fearless, dauntless, promised.

We believe in all who are silenced.
We believe in all silenced.
We believe in all who are promised.
We believe in all promised.
And I await…

V. Sanctus/Benedictus

Sanctus, Sanctus, Sanctus,
Domine Deus Sabaoth.
Pleni sunt coeli et terra gloria tua.
Osanna in excelsis.

Benedictus qui venit
in nomine Domini.
Osanna in excelsis.

VI. Agnus Dei

Agnus Dei,
qui tollis peccata mundi

Lamb of God,
of longing, loss,
have mercy on us.
Accept, embrace
these sins—release
the callous,
the conquering,
replace this
hardened wrath,
with calm.

Lamb of God,
in calling, call,
grant them peace.
The deepest sleep
of safety, the unencumbered
yawn. To bathe and breed
with no threat or risk—
trade our sins,
our trespasses,
for bliss.

Let, allow, admit, accord:
The slumbering of gods
The wandering unbound
The hunted hunting whole
The grazing under moon
The breathing boundless breath
The freedom found in self
The feeling life is whole
The meaning known, unknown

Agnus Dei

Lamb of God,
of goodness, gold,
share your mercy.
Enslaved by sordid
time—the inward-turning
eye, in scarcity,
with lie.

Lamb of God,
they who take our
basest acts—no
punishment no
cruel attack.
Lamb of God,
they who rise from
all we lack—Lamb of
God—give wonder, wish,
give kindness back.

Agnus Dei

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