Posts Tagged '9/11'

The Tower

As morning brightness

sparkles on water far below,

a tiny silver bird turns toward me,

grows into a screaming vulture

and shakes the tower

beneath my feet.

Orange  fingers reach through

cracks and holes,

seeking me,

hot breath against my back,

urging me along.

A young woman stands,

head pressed against the outside wall.

dread and pleading in her eyes.

She comes to me,

her fingers searching for mine.

I open them to her.

Seared by the inferno,

we spend a silent moment memorizing each other,

as dark tendrils search between us.

She swipes a fist at smudged tear trails.

Together,

we step to the window ledge.

Sharing one last glance,

our hands grip tightly.

We escape into cool, blue air.

At the 9/11 Temporary Memorial

So many gods, so many creeds

So many paths that wind and wind

While just the art of being kind

Is all this sad world needs

                       Coexist

We recently visited the temporary 9/11 Memorial in New York City and were haunted by what we saw there. Across the street they are building the permanent memorial and you can sometimes hear the sounds of construction.

A few minutes earlier we had been in the small church a block away from the World Trade Center buildings that had acted as the first trauma center, helping victims find medical help. It had been partly covered in debris from the collapse of the buildings, debris that took almost a year to completely clean up.

Here in the memorial are twisted beams and recovered shoes and combs and other personal items (including cell phones). In the basement is a bulletin board where the staff posts the comments of visitors from many lands who visit the memorial. Among the comments I found the above poem and copied it down. I don’t know who wrote it but it carries a brief but powerful message that resonated with me. It is a poem I wish I had written.

We will long remember the event, but unless we stand in that place and feel what the victims must have experienced, we have missed the most important part. We don’t have to hate each other. We will never all agree on anything, but we can agree to respect each other’s lives and grant each other the choices that God grants to all of us. Until that happens, we will continue to hurt and be hurt.


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