Friday, September 20, 2013

From the Ashes Comes the Phoenix!
A 9/11 Memorial Poem

© 2013 Linda McKinney All Rights Reserved

The sky was blue and cheerful and the birds sang sweet in trees.
The travelers' destinations varied: some business, some families.
Boarding the plane they thought of things of every day;
Of wedding plans, of keeping kids quiet, of bills they had to pay.

Then sky blue terror, terror, terror, as men stood up and screamed,
and the men attacked and killed, killed and killed again,
to bring America to its knees
and buildings became targets, although one plane fought back,
they screamed of their god's greatness, forgetting his mercy*.

And in the buildings there was nothing to warn them of the day
of the day that would bring horror, agony and pain,
until they looked from Tower One and saw the too-close plane.
Closer, closer, closer it came until...

Flame and crash and burn and fumes and stench of burning flesh
And can't breathe and running blind, no lights, no air, no escape
and heart's pounding, running, running, running,
hearing the screams, terror and pain and smelling
the smells of what is the same of the fear in your own heart.

Voices calling, calling, calling, begging "Help me!" or
calling "This way!" in the flame, flame and smoke,
of the burning, burning, burning; eyes, throat burning
and the building's frame melting down.

And death surrounds them and fear drives them and all around them
the flames, the flames, the flames. And the roaring of
the burning and the oxygen leaves the building
as the people scream and fall and fall and fall
and they wonder if they should join them.

While on the ground and all around the world is
watching, watching, watching, and although our minds
refuse to find a reason worth this action, our hearts stood still
and breath failed to find escape or inhalation
astonishment took away all function except the watching.

Soon building two felt the impact, the impact of the plane,
the plane of their failing, failing of the tower, failing of the safety
the safety of America. The change had begun with the impact
of the tower, the impact of the death, of the death of the thousands
the thousands of the people.

As people came down, down, down to the ground to escape
the flaming buildings, to breathe a breath not burning,
the heroes there helped others down and saved lives and
heart ache for many. And the police, fire department and
ambulances, risked lives to save those still waiting. Then
they looked up as tower two was struck and tears fell throughout the nation.

Somewhere in the sky, two planes flying by were headed for targets
of their own. The Pentagon, with its walls so strong, was
target three that day. And with similar rage the third page
of the plan of terror was writ. Inside that plane, as in the others,
phone calls told loved ones of their doom, doom, doom.

And the towers fell, two buildings down, down, down,
hitting the ground and the rumble, rumble, rumble,
forever in the hearts, shaking our hearts, breaking our hearts,
Shocked and terrified, our hearts cried out, breaking, but
already rising from the ashes, the rolling, rolling ashes.

And the smoke came billowing, billowing, billowing,
blowing down the street, rushing down the street and filling in the blanks,
the blanks of the city, the City of New York, City of the terror, the terror of the moment,
of the shock, of the death, of the hatred killing innocents and the innocents knowing
nothing, nothing of the reason, the reason of their deaths.

People were running, running, running as the ashes and the dust
billowed through the streets and the ashes covered, covered, covered,
choked and hid, blew and slid into each crevice and opening. Eyes
burned, couldn't breathe and the towers were no more... nor were the people.

The search soon began and the reality sunk in and the truth of the day's
deeds were known. Four planes were down, down without landing, and
the death toll was enormous. As people streamed in to help with the search
for living and help needing; or those beyond the help of the dawn
and the task was so overwhelming.

But take it up, we did, no reality hid, as the search was on for
who did this. We found the names of eleven "to blames" and then
the names of those gone. Strange to think it took less time to find
the guilty, than lives of innocence taken. Three thousand gone,
to never see dawn, and their families' lives truly shaken.

And the broken, broken, broken hearts ache still with the loss
and the memorials won't replace the day of tragic cost
and when the anniversary comes 'round again, again, again
the day we all commemorate the day the earth stood still
and none of us could breathe as in unison we grieved and
we watched as the world changed around us.

As years, years, years pass by, and each year we cry and
we try to make sense of it still. It's no easier to understand the men
who chose to destroy for a god who employs hatred to draw men to him.
If a god of fear wants you to draw near, his tactics are truly unruly.
And when his men, under orders from him, kill innocents to obey his orders
then who wants to serve a god who deserves our distrust and our loathing?

Ruling through fear won't work for us here; America the free and the brave.
For attacking our loved ones on soil of our own puts steel in our
spines and resolve. We'll stand hand in hand and of them demand
an accounting for their actions. And we'll do what we can to prevent it
again and we'll not let another act of destruction
make us again victims of men who want to make us subservient!

Terror did reign for through the shock and the pain and
the truth of the enemy's hatred. But hit us one time and we call
back to mind the words of Patrick Henry's resolve;
"Is life so dear or peace so sweet as to be purchased at the price of chains
and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take,
but as for me, give me liberty, or give me death!"

E'en through terror and fear, life so dear, it's clear is worthy of living,
So stand stronger we now, have shoulder to plough and we push on
through brokenness, heartache and loss. When looking ahead we
remember our loss and we plan to prevent it again. But more than that
loss we remember the cost of not knowing the enemy well. Now we're aware
of the depths of despair they're willing to dare bring those they attack.

No more do the towers, those pillars of awe, reflect the sun, moon and
stars. But remember we them in our hearts with the men, women and children
we lost. Replaced are the heights of the towers of lights with the hole left in the ground
and stamped on our hearts. Sacred place engraved with Lady Liberty's flame,
its presence gives us strength, courage and resolve. So those who look for a chance
to repeat the performance. Remember the day that our hearts did pay the price of
lessons we regret. But also recall, one and all, that for from ashes comes the Phoenix!

. * Merciful is ninth word in the actual text of the Koran (as opposed to the introduction).

© 2013 Linda McKinney All Rights Reserved