Thursday, September 8, 2016

September 11th



“At the center of our being is a point of nothingness which is untouched by sin and by illusion, a point of pure truth, a point or spark which belongs entirely to God, which is never at our disposal, from which God disposes of our lives, which is inaccessible to the fantasies of our own mind or the brutalities of our own will.”  Thomas Merton

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Rushing from shower to sink, I heard the TV
blare its usual chatter of news and advertising
as we made our hurried preparations
for another busy day,
when I saw it:
dark smoke rising into the blue New York sky.

And I stopped, all schedules forgotten, transfixed
by high flames scorching glass and steel.

Calmly, the newsman speculated
about airliners and tragic accidents,
when the passive camera caught it, the black spot
flying straight and sure as a bullet, piercing
the second tower in a shower of orange flame and shattered glass.

This was no accident,then, this morning violence, and I wondered
how many people were already at work when,
pinned by burning jet fuel and melting steel, their busy day
suddenly ceased in searing red pain and numb darkness?

I wanted to go on with my own day,
to hide in the comfort of my routine,
but I could not turn away when I saw jumpers
drop to merciful deaths;

I saw a suited businessman,
pale in white dust, slowly plodding
through a deluge of drifting memos,
clutching his briefcase like a life preserver;

I heard the shrill, muffled
sirens of ambulance and fire-trucks,
lost in the dirty fog of terror.

And I knew in that moment
that we all are New Yorkers,

we all are falling into our dark, quiet center
where, sinless and without fear,
we encounter God, Yahweh, Allah,
The Eternal,  

as our shattered bodies rise
through flames of anger
into the pure, cool, forgiving
September air.

(9/11/2011)

4 comments:

  1. You captured the emotions of the day perfectly. I was moved by this as it sparked my own memories of that terrible day.

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  2. this poem recounts it all, the terror felt the world over that day... and i love that the poem, these 12 years later, has its feeling of remove, confirmed for me in the vision of the final stanzas

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  3. I remember watching this unfold live on TV in the UK. You have captured the feelings well. I actually cried when I saw the jumpers falling.

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  4. This is a fantastically powerful write. I found it so gripping. And LOVE the final stanza!!!!

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