They Are Hostile Nations


    text by Margaret Atwood


    In view of the fading animals
    the proliferation of sewers and fears
    the sea clogging, the air
    nearing extinction

    we should be kind, we should
    take warning, we should forgive each other

    Instead we are opposite, we
    touch as though attacking,

    the gifts we bring
    even in good faith maybe
    warp in our hands to
    implements, to manoeuvres


    Put down the target of me
    you guard inside your binoculars,
    in turn I will surrender

    this aerial photograph
    (your vulnerable
    sections marked in red)
    I have found so useful

    See, we are alone in
    the dormant field, the snow
    that cannot be eaten or captured


    Here there are no armies
    here there is no money

    It is cold and getting colder,

    We need each others’
    breathing, warmth, surviving
    is the only war
    we can afford, stay

    walking with me, there is almost
    time / if we can only
    make it as far as

    the (possibly) last summer


    Score (PDF)
    for Choir (SSAATTBB), Piano and Marimba
    Duration 8mins
    Composed Jan-Apr 2018
    First performance Southern Oregon University Concert Choir, June 10 2018
    Dedicated to Christine Eggert and the Southern Oregon University Concert Choir.