Monday, September 11, 2006

IN MEMORIAM: Remembering the Victims of 9/11

In lieu of a regular Poem of the Week this week, I am posting this poem by Adam Zagajewski which was, back when it first happened, often cited to help us all to deal with the horrors of the terrorist attacks in which so many innocent Americans lost their lives (it was posted without adornment on the back cover of The New Yorker magazine directly following the tragedy). Today, exactly five years later, I offer it both as a tribute to those victims and their families, and as a way of both remembering, and moving beyond, that horrific experience.

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Try to Praise the Mutilated World

Try to praise the mutilated world.
Remember June's long days,
and wild strawberries, drops of wine, the dew.
The nettles that methodically overgrow
the abandoned homesteads of exiles.
You must praise the mutilated world.
You watched the stylish yachts and ships;
one of them had a long trip ahead of it,
while salty oblivion awaited others.
You've seen the refugees heading nowhere,
you've heard the executioners sing joyfully.
You should praise the mutilated world.
Remember the moments when we were together
in a white room and the curtain fluttered.
Return in thought to the concert where music flared.
You gathered acorns in the park in autumn
and leaves eddied over the earth's scars.
Praise the mutilated world
and the grey feather a thrush lost,
and the gentle light that strays and vanishes
and returns.

2 comments:

Mutt Ploughman said...

Well, this is the sort of thing you look to poets for. In times of crisis or tragedy a poem like this helps us regain perspective. Even when we're not in any crisis, poets provide us with the words to help us remember small things that give us a better quality of life. But in the case of the still-horrifying images from five years ago, this sort of thing reminds us that there is still beauty in a dangerous and frightening world.

Timely post by Duke, who seems to routinely find the right poems to add to this impressive series....

Aura McKnightly said...

Well done Duke. I've been thinking of that day as well.