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FOUR POSTCARDS (2020) - for tenor and guitar

Commissioned by the Colorado State Music Teachers Association (CSMTA). Premiered virtually, August 2020.


Duration:  ca. 11 min.



by Maggie Hinchliffe

I. January

Today, I mumbled, “kleine” by mistake
When I was ordering a coffee near
The Palais Garnier: The barista,
Who had already assisted many
Customers in perfect French and English,
Looked at me with puzzled eyes, as if I’d
Spoken a completely different language.

Today, I mumbled, “kleine” by mistake
When I was thinking I could camouflage
Within another culture: The silence
That immediately followed felt like
Floating over the Atlantic Ocean,
Wondering where we belong: Germany,
America, France, or maybe Norway?

II. Re: January

I was thinking about Norwegian fjords
Today when I noticed how the mountains
Looked: Above slushy city streets, without
A regular disturbance of footsteps
Or snow ploughs, the white accumulation
Over every summit glistened brighter
Than the Colorado sun––so bright that
I had to squint and scrunch my face to see.

I like that every day, the mountains look
Completely different from the day before,
As if acknowledging the passing time
And yearning for the calendar to move
Along from our separate wintertimes
And into March and April, June, July…

III. June

Will the unwelcome emptiness of May

And June continue to separate us

The way that summertime and citizens

Are separated by uncertainty?

Will the freshly contaminated air

That passes like a peaceful mystery

Overhead ever acknowledge our want

Of wandering away from east to west?

Will the Parthenon deteriorate

Or overflow with irresponsible

Tourists? Will the Ozarks regenerate

Wildlife or drown underneath riverways?

Will red canyons collapse deeper into 

The Earth? Will black bears threaten afternoons?

IV. Re: June

Do the unusual black foxes know

That they are unusual animals?

And do they discuss this with the red fox

Or the mountain goat or the rattlesnake?

When the black bear and white-haired deer mingle

At the intersecting rock in the woods,

Do they exchange predatory secrets

Or dance around the boulders in silence?

I wonder if their world will be bothered

By our afternoon hikes through the mountains

That lead to the collective enjoyment

Of honeydew and mango bubble tea

Or our Saturdays ending with the warm

Company of a chocolatey dessert.

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