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Friday, September 9, 2011

9/11 Memorial Poem (from northSight)

Below I have reprinted my poem, "Voices From the Aftermath: New York City Requiem" which published in my second collection, northSight (2006). Composer Christopher Scinto created music based on this poem for the fifth anniversary of 9/11 memorial event held in Phoenix. The music was sung, in two performances, by the Phoenix Chorale (formerly Bach Choir) to audiences of more than 300 persons each. It was a moving time for all of us.

I reprint the poem here as a memorial to that terrible day but also as a tribute to the courage, faith and resilence which lies at the heart of our country.

Voices From the Aftermath: New York City Requiem


Young Boy Running in the Street

The day the towers fell, the sun dropped from the sky.
They say my parents died--but I just don't believe them.
I step on broken glass--the dirt gets in my eyes.
On each and every wall I'll hang copies of this picutre:

a dark-haired woman who smiles,
a laughing husband who holds
the sleeping child between them.

Tell every who knows, to call--
my hand is on the phone--I know they will come home--
just ring and we'll go find them.

I know they have been saved...please

I am my father's so; my mother was the one
who said she'd never leave me.


Women Standing at Ground Zero

I keep your voice on the machine, it tells me: good-bye, good-bye.
Your face on the news. Your name engraved inside my ring. Now
when I stare into your grave--this hole
in the ground, circles of twisted metal--I wonder
how is this world still possible?

That day, you woke from a deep sleep,
drank the morning coffee, kissed me
--twice--on the mouth, went to work
and died.

Fires above your head. Fires behind your back.
As you jumped into the hand of God
did my love go with you?


Widow Waiting Outside the Station House

The wall of blue weeps for you. Thirty years on the job. Thirty years
before my fears
come true. Ashes in my mouth. You, shouting int he blackened air"
get out of here--

the the building feel straight to the ground. They never found you.
Only this piece of gold. Now for days I've been living in a haze--
trying to recall your face....Your men line the street. I touch your badge
and pray for peace, the kind I hear you say
comes in the earliest part of the morning.


Father Among the Rescue Workers

Where is my daughter? Where have you brought her?
No one will tell me
where her body lies.
Here is a strand of her hair;
her sweater thrown over a chair.
Tell me--why won't you teel me--when and where and how she died?

You say I should go home, but suppose someone knows

that she found her way through the smoke,
that she ran down the stairs, into the street....

No--you say--no,
there isn't any hope....

just this dust, her body dancing
under the rescue lights, rising 

on a swirl of New York City air.


karmenghia said...

Thanks for sharing this poem. The morning of the anniversary I attended the Healing Fields in Tempe for the ceremony. The Tempe lakefront was covered in flags and at 5:45 in the morning, the bagpipes played while people came together to remember. It was a rich experience and very emotional, even for this Canadian. There were many stories told through the morning, much like the people in your poem. I wonderful reminder that although it affected this country, it's about the people.

Lois Roma-Deeley said...

Thanks for your comments. It is important for all of us to remember that, even though so much sadness happened that day, there were also moments where human beings were their most noble selves. Of course, it does not take from the horror, but it does serve to remind us to look carefully--we just might find real live portraits of "better Angels."