Sunday, September 11, 2005

Observing September 11

Though it is hard to see beyond the junk pile of bumper stickers, nicknames, country-western songs, T-shirts, illegal invasions, and toxic rhetoric, September 11 is a day to commemorate a very solemn occasion. Here are some poems to help us observe it:


Are We Great?
By Marian Wilson

Are we great and are we strong?
Days grow short
sorrow's long
Will we fade to dust
or ignite the dawn?

Young one runs past the crumbling walls
Looking high, then low, then ahead
he mourns.
Uncertainty
his heart's concerned
Are we large or are we small?

Mother's lap keeps him safe and warm
He ponders television's angry songs
Soldiers ready for their hardest war
Are they brave or are they soft?

He lights a candle
to evaporate the hate
Imagines faces
that he never could place
Were they frightened
did they feel alone?
He prays the meek find heaven
as the devil does his wrong.

Flames blow out
the ashes fall
The wind of the city
dispersed them all
They leave their mark
in the rubble of the earth
Airy shadows
that grow in worth.

Frail and crippled
will we ever get along
when strong is weak and weak is strong?
Will we last or will we fall?
Are we great or are we small?

(Originally published in the Cayuse Press Book of Remembrance. Re-printed by permission)


Suicide Hijackers
By Nan Jacobs

Oh so many
Seeking heaven:
AngryMartyr wann-
A-be's.

But they hide
Inside the hills
Never to be free.

Languish young men!
All misled by
Dried-up hypocrites.
Enter heaven? Where and when?
Nowhere. Never! Amen.

(Published by permission)


silence
By Joe Ivory Mattingly

with every lie
they grow

stronger
in us

with every lie
they grow

stronger
around us

the weeds within
without a word

strangle us
in silence

(Published by permission)


Walking the Brooklyn Bridge
By Diane E. Dees

On a cloudy summer evening, I cross the Brooklyn Bridge;
it is the first time I have ever made this walk.
To my left, within the mist, I see the Lady
lifting her torch, guiding me across the river.
Her light shines far beyond this native space,
shimmering across brackish waves of time.

I'm strolling at a very busy time;
so many people, coming and going, pass me on the bridge;
I have to move with care, protect my little plot of space
and adjust my rhythm to a New York walk.
Still, I can't keep my eyes off the blue-gray river,
the boats, the buildings, the harbor, and the Lady.

Beside me are some joggers and a suited lady
who hauls a briefcase, and walks determinedly, in time
to the rhythms of the boundless river.
Some teenage girls who giggle on the bridge
stop to whisper, then continue to walk,
their spirits light, their minds not on this space.

Leaning over the rail, I stare into the sunset space
at a final misty view of Brooklyn, and the figure of the Lady.
I have only about a mile left to walk,
but how the sky has changed in this kaleidoscopic time.
I watch the cars speed by me on the bridge,
their passengers paying no mind to the river.

It looks so peaceful out there on the river.
Soon, city lights will merge with stars in space,
and cast their foggy glow upon us on the bridge,
as we move farther and farther from the Lady.
And as we shift away from her, step by step, over time,
we stumble over debris left scattered on the walk.

The thousands of us who make this walk
never doubt that we will make it across the river.
I step out as people have time after time,
but then I look up and see the gaping space--
and worse--I can no longer see the Lady;
the air is thick with smoke from burning bridges.

Silently I walk the remainder of the bridge.
A sudden wind arises from the river, chilling this melancholy lady,
while the lessons of time are lost somewhere in space.

(Originally published in the Fall/Winter, 2004 issue of Mobius)

6 Comments:

Diane, I wrote this 4 years ago in an essay, reprinted it today on my blog:

"I find myself envying poets, with an already gray canvas to stain with their grief."

I guess I was talking about you. Thanks for posting your canvas today.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2:12 PM  

You're welcome. Thank you.

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