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Thursday, September 11, 2008

A Day to Remember


It doesn't seem like it's been seven years, but it has been. Please take a moment today, Patriot's Day, to remember the victims and heroes of 9/11. They are forever in our hearts.

The Names
September 6, 2002
by poet laureate of the United States Billy Collins

Yesterday, I lay awake in the palm of the night.
A soft rain stole in, unhelped by any breeze,
And when I saw the silver glaze on the windows,
I started with A, with Ackerman, as it happened,
Then Baxter and Calabro,
Davis and Eberling, names falling into place
As droplets fell through the dark.
Names printed on the ceiling of the night.
Names slipping around a watery bend.
Twenty-six willows on the banks of a stream.
In the morning, I walked out barefoot
Among thousands of flowers
Heavy with dew like the eyes of tears,
And each had a name --
Fiori inscribed on a yellow petal
Then Gonzalez and Han, Ishikawa and Jenkins.
Names written in the air
And stitched into the cloth of the day.
A name under a photograph taped to a mailbox.
Monogram on a torn shirt,
I see you spelled out on storefront windows
And on the bright unfurled awnings of this city.
I say the syllables as I turn a corner --
Kelly and Lee,
Medina, Nardella, and O'Connor.
When I peer into the woods,
I see a thick tangle where letters are hidden
As in a puzzle concocted for children.
Parker and Quigley in the twigs of an ash,
Rizzo, Schubert, Torres, and Upton,
Secrets in the boughs of an ancient maple.
Names written in the pale sky.
Names rising in the updraft amid buildings.
Names silent in stone
Or cried out behind a door.
Names blown over the earth and out to sea.
In the evening -- weakening light, the last swallows.
A boy on a lake lifts his oars.
A woman by a window puts a match to a candle,
And the names are outlined on the rose clouds --
Vanacore and Wallace,
(let X stand, if it can, for the ones unfound)
Then Young and Ziminsky, the final jolt of Z.
Names etched on the head of a pin.
One name spanning a bridge, another undergoing a tunnel.
A blue name needled into the skin.
Names of citizens, workers, mothers and fathers,
The bright-eyed daughter, the quick son.
Alphabet of names in a green field.
Names in the small tracks of birds.
Names lifted from a hat
Or balanced on the tip of the tongue.
Names wheeled into the dim warehouse of memory.
So many names, there is barely room on the walls of the heart.

8 comments:

tina said...

Lovely tribute to one of the worst days in all of history. Still can't believe the devastation and loss of life.

DP Nguyen said...

What a beautiful tribute and a great poem. I can hardly believe it's been 7 years. Time flies fast.

Rose said...

A beautiful poem--the last line is particularly poignant.
When I sat down at the computer this morning, I looked up at the calendar and realized what day it was. It's hard to believe it's been seven years--I will never forget that day.
Thanks for this wonderful tribute to those innocents who died.

perennialgardener said...

What a lovely way to pay tribute to the many who lost their lives 7 years ago. Time goes by so fast that it's hard to believe. I still remember where I was when it happened.

TC said...

Very moving piece by our poet laureate. My flag flew at half-mast all day, and will through the night with a spotlight shining, illuminating the darkness that would otherwise dim our hopes for healing.

Gail said...

Thank you for remembering and honoring our lost. Gail

Cindy said...

Tina ~ As horrible as it is to remember, I think it's so important that we do.

DP ~ It has gone by so fast. It's funny, my life was so different 7 years ago.

Rose ~ I love that last line. It's so moving.

PGL ~ I can remember almost all the details of that day. It's amazing how things get burned in our minds.

TC ~ I forgot, but I should have been flying our flag. And you are right, it is important that we heal.

Gail ~ It was the smallest of gestures but I had to do something, some small remembrance, if only (selfishly) for me.

joey said...

A beautiful tribute, Cindy, and thanks for keeping this moment alive ... we must never forget and rejoice in the beauty of each peaceful moment.