Poem: "To a Terrorist," by Stephen Dunn, from Between Angels (Norton).
To a Terrorist
For the historical ache, the ache passed down
which finds its circumstance and becomes
the present ache, I offer this poem
without hope, knowing there's nothing,
not even revenge, which alleviates
a life like yours. I offer it as one
might offer his father's ashes
to the wind, a gesture
when there's nothing else to do.
Still, I must say to you:
I hate your good reasons.
I hate the hatefulness that makes you fall
in love with death, your own included.
Perhaps you're hating me now,
I who own my own house
and live in a country so muscular,
so smug, it thinks its terror is meant
only to mean well, and to protect.
Christ turned his singular cheek,
one man's holiness another's absurdity.
Like you, the rest of us obey the sting,
the surge. I'm just speaking out loud
to cancel my silence. Consider it an old impulse,
doomed to become mere words.
The first poet probably spoke to thunder
and, for a while, believed
thunder had an ear and a choice.
On this day in 2001, it was a clear, crisp, sunny morning in New York City. Students were in their second week of school. People were getting to work in cars, buses, and trains. Alessandra Fremura had planned on leaving for work at 8:00, but her babysitter was 20 minutes late. Virginia DiChiara couldn't get her golden retrievers to come in from the backyard, so she decided to have another cup of coffee. Kenneth Merlo was supposed to go in the office, but he decided to spend the morning helping a friend hook up her computer instead of going to his office. Michael Lomonaco stopped in the lobby of the World Trade Center to order some reading glasses from the one-hour eyeglass store. Michael Jacobs was running late when he reached the Trade Center lobby. He rushed to make the elevator, but the doors slid shut in his face. A musician named Michelle Wiley was at home in her apartment. She sat down at her piano in her nightgown and shower shoes, and stared out her window at the Twin Towers before beginning to play.
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Thank you, Talia.
I was in a supermarket in England on my way home from work (I work mornings) some thing was wrong, the staff were muttering to each other, something had happened and the customers were wondering what. I retuned to the news on the car radio, it wasn't the IRA this time.
Emule on Sept. 11
Now here is a pretty wonderful thing. None of us in the UK had much of an idea of how to express our feelings about what happened, and two years on we are still saddened and subdued. But at least there is the healing power of gardens:
eMule made a very big part of my experience on September 11th -- rereading the thread from that day brought back a lot of details.
For them as is interested: The kid I took home with me that day is still in my life. In fact, he called me on September 11th this year, and we're planning to see "The Return of the King" together.