Friday, September 11, 2009

After Words

I wrote this poem a few weeks after the Twin Towers went down. Remembering today, that it's still my fervent desire to find a way toward peace.

After Words
A response to September 11, 2001

It was a time of uncertainty, doubt and fear
a time of mourning, weeping and crying out
a cacophony demanding
Revenge, Justice, an End to the Madness
A time when we perched at the brink
looked into blackness
and rock crumbled underneath our feet.
A time when we held our collective breath
and braced ourselves for the hand
that would push
us into the abyss.
We clamped our eyes shut
images of destruction replaying
in the darkness behind our eyelids.

Then we felt it.
We were not standing alone.
Shoulders pressed against ours.
Fingers found their way
into our clenched fists.
We offered our hands, opened our eyes
stepped back from the precipice
into a sea of tear-streaked faces.
Voices swelled like waves
our grief, our lament, washing us clean.
Stripping us bare.

And we knew that to heal
We needed a new vocabulary
with the power to break divisions we’d invented
to keep us “us” and others “them”.
Words to topple fences
that kept neighbors apart.
Words to weave humanity together
across the span of continents.
Words to reveal what it means to be human
in all our brokenness and beauty.

At the edge of the pit
we held the hands of strangers
we called them brother and sister.
We sang of hope, of love, of a presence bigger
than our constructions and our understanding.
We spoke of the power that embraces us all.
We became the river of life
carving a new path to a place
we’d been longing to discover all of our lives.

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