Gregorian Chance

by Kathleen Martin

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October 7, 2015

'Tis the creepy season of Halloween chills and, to mark the centennial of its publication, here is my sonic version of Franz Kafka's notorious tale of hapless Gregor Samsa in "Metamorphosis," greatly abbreviated here in original words and music. The narrator (guess who?!:) describes only the earliest moments of Samsa's transformation, and then I spin it in the end with an upbeat twist. Maybe it will pique your curiosity to read the original story, and I encourage you to do so.

I'm fairly pleased with how it turned out all in all but, my-oh-my, did this piece ever have a long start-and-stall journey once I set lyrics down all the way back in January. It passed from collab to collab until it became clear the only way it was going to sprout wings and fly (ahem) was as a DIY project. I've discovered collaborations are great for revealing the true character (or lack thereof) of people; an eye-opening wake-up call that is indeed the single silver lining otherwise to a good deal of wasted time with a couple of folks. OTOH, it has also been the greatest source of joy collaborating with people whose heads and hearts are both in the right place. (Won't name names either way, but all you good souls know how much I respect and ♥ you!)


Gregorian Chance

Mother, is that you?
Sis, you out there, too?
Voice so weird within my head.
So very hard to lift up out of bed.

My body feels so strange.
I think there's been some change,
Yet it can't be as it seems.
It all must be a dream

My boss yells from the hall:
"You're late and didn't call!"
I crawl across the floor
To open up my door.

I glimpse my image mirrored.
It's just as I had feared
Overnight I'd turned in
To wretched insect vermin

I scream but what comes out
Is not a human shout.
My angry boss still knocks.
How will I work the locks?

I try to use my mouth
To turn the latches south.
It's not an easy job,
But now I've turned the knob.

Shocked in sheer revulsion
And recoiling in repulsion,
My callers quickly flee
From the very sight of me.

I fold my wings within my shell
To shield me from my nightmare hell.
This newest transformation
Guarantees me more isolation.

And I cannot fall to ruin
If cushioned in cocoon.
Shall I settle in to rest
Safe inside my insect nest?

But we're none as we appear,
And change is what we fear;
And fear that stunts our growth,
So I'll bid goodbye to both!
AUF WIEDERSEHEN! (c) October 2015 Kathleen Martin

CODA: [from "I'll Fly Away" punctuated by sounds of "La Cucaracha"]
Just a few more weary days and then,
I'll fly away.
To that land where joy will never end,
I'll fly away. I'll fly away. I'll fly away.


released October 7, 2015
Written, arranged, produced by Kathleen Martin, performing all vocals, Epiphone electric rhythm and Yamaha keyboard for bassoon, clarinet, organ and percussion/effects. Insect sounds found online.

Artwork by JT Lindroos: (and, as Philo Gristle )




Kathleen Martin New Albany, Indiana

For music fans who think outside the boxy confines of genre labels, find here my original work arranged for and performed on a variety of instruments for sounds ranging from sweet to sassy and reedy to brassy; from lofty to lowdown and soulful to hoedown; from serious to silly and urban to hillbilly. I urge you to click on my production notes/lyrics before or as you push play. ☼♥ ... more

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