CROSSING

For large mixed choir

July 2015, Island of Lesvos, Greece. We arrive at the island of Lesvos at the same time as the first massive influx of refugees from Syria lands on the Greek shores. Lesvos is the primary destination for the hordes of flimsy inflatable boats, the transportation means of choice of the Turkish smugglers. The number of families with pregnant women or small children that arrive is astonishing. Toddlers younger than my three-year-old daughter, newborns, and their exhausted parents, brave the unforgiving heat without food or water as they walk the 60 miles of mountainous terrain that separate our resort town of Methymna from the port of Mytilene. There, they will endure unspeakable hardships for days until a boat chartered by the Greek government, itself collapsing under the uncontrollable financial crisis, transfers them to the port of Pireaus. From there, most will walk for three weeks to reach someplace in Europe, hopefully Germany or Sweden. As I am thinking about this piece, my wife suggests to reread the “Waste Land”.The verses “if there were water and no rock” and “who is the third who walks always beside you” seem painfully relevant.