she was wilderness
she was wilderness is a setting of a powerful and timely poem about the climate crisis written by young Saudi-Arabian poet Waad Tariq.
It was commissioned by the Vancouver Choir Choir and premiered at their 50th anniversary concert on November 19, 2021 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.
Note from the composer
“she was wilderness” is a setting of a powerful and timely poem by young Saudi-Arabian poet Waad Tariq. Her words serve as a poignant reminder of human impacts on the climate through activities such as deforestation, and what’s at stake without collective action. In my musical setting, I aimed to depict the remarkable beauty of our natural world as well as the immense grief and tragedy in her decline — from a lush, beautiful forest of “evergreen” to a “single tree”. — K.G.
Note from the poet
As a child, I’ve always thought there were constants. The sun rises every morning and sets every evening, the moon can always be seen at night, and I will always find shade in my favourite banana tree. I have learned since then that the midnight sun exists, the moon can get eclipsed, and trees die, at an alarming rate. The poem was inspired by the greenery around us, or lack thereof, and it came forth from the figurative and literal meaning behind the line ‘when the bough breaks’ from the nursery rhyme ‘rock-a-bye baby’. Without action against climate change, there will be no natural green shades, no boughs for cradles to fall from, and nature, with all of her intense and loud beauty, will diminuendo into silence. No longer a constant. The world is shedding, and what will be left afterwards remains to be seen. — W.T.
Waad Tariq is a 26-year-old poet from Saudi Arabia. In her poems, she writes about the human experience, dreams, mythology, the natural world, and everything in-between. You can find out more and read her poems at waadtariq.tumblr.com