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Poems for the People   -  Poems by the People

About the Poem

In the three years since founding, I've largely managed to avoid using this web site as a platform for my personal views. Passions is a place not for preaching, but for sharing. This poem, I hope, is no different.

Yesterday was September 11, 2001.

When I was 13, I lived through the televised death of John Kennedy. Later, I lived through the atrocities of Vietnam, through Kent State, through mass murders and natural catastrophes. I've watched space shuttles explode on CNN and listened in horror as children killed other children in American schools. All of those appalling events of an imperfect world live with me, shaping the person I have become. But perhaps no other day in history has touched my heart in the same way as did yesterday.

Television stations in this country are calling it the "Attack on America," characterizing this senseless violence as a second Pearl Harbor, as a declaration of war. Maybe they're right. Yet, what I've seen in the past twenty-four hours within our own pipTalk forums convinces me they are, at best, only partially right. September 11 was an attack not just against America, but against the world.

If you don't believe me, ask Titia or Munda, poets from the Netherlands. Ask Melissa or Kit, from Canada, or Dee or Maree from Australia. Ask Kamla from New Zealand. Voices have been raised in England, in India, in Ireland, in Korea, and in dozens more nations across the planet. Our poetry is international, and so too is the compassion and outrage expressed by our poets. I am both humbled and incredibly proud of the people whom comprise Passions. They give me hope.


Scared, she tried to calm the tears
of her seven-year old daughter.

"It's going to be okay," she lied,
as the dark men,
armed with knives and cold eyes,
herded passengers to the rear
of the half-empty plane.
Furtively, afraid to draw attention,
she breathed into a small ear,
"Please don't cry."

Scared, he forced his eyes from
the window to the photo on his desk.

Across the way, the tower
that mirrored his own
was adrift in flames,
dark clouds of billowing smoke
all but obscuring the
approaching, well aimed, plane.
"It's coming," he whispered to
his wife's smiling picture.

Scared, she flipped the channel
to yet another chronicle of chaos.

Their apartment was so close
she imagined she could smell the smoke,
though perhaps it was just a reflection
of the stinging argument they had
while he was dressing for work.
His office phone went unanswered,
his cell number refused to connect,
and still she mouthed the words, "I'm sorry."

Scared, he bounded up another flight of stairs,
the plaster walls trembling in unison with his heart.

"Keep going!" he breathlessly yelled
to civilians he passed in the closed stairwell.
Some were covered with silt, some with blood,
all with the clinging, cloying sense of fear.
Twenty-three floors, and still he climbed,
checking for locked doors,
directing frightened people,
and praying, "Please, give us more time."

Scared, she ran through the crowded street,
panic pounding more loudly than the thunder at her back.

The tower was collapsing under its own weight,
its steel palms crushing those unable to run,
its billowing fingers of darkness relentlessly chasing
those still trying to escape.
Hot winds tickled her bare neck,
a silent voice urging her to greater speeds.
Fetid darkness blinded her, choked her,
as speed alone proved not enough.

Scared, I lay awake in a darkened room
and asked the inevitable, "Why?"

Those who died weren't soldiers.
They didn't shape foreign policies
or decide global economies.
They were just people.
Mothers and fathers, daughters and sons,
each now a victim of hatreds
beyond their responsibility,
beyond anyone's real understanding.

Scared, the world watched in horror, in pain,
and in ever growing rage.

Shoulder to shoulder, they stood together,
speaking in many languages,
in a single assenting voice.
"This cannot be," they whispered in awe.
Ignoring differences, forgetting distinctions,
they joined unlike hands and equal hearts.
And the whispers rose in crescendo:
"This cannot be EVER AGAIN."

Join hands, my friends. In prayer, in protest, in peace and retribution, as a world united in our common intolerance of hatred and hate-inspired death.

Join hands. Join voices. Join hearts.
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66 Visitor Comments

It made me cry.
Fantabulous. it did not stink. It was a great poem.
oh my god that touched me deep at heart. i've read alot of poems sence that day but that has to be my favorite . my uncle died in the attacks i'm glad so many people keep the people who died in mind.
This poem is. wow. I don’t know how to explain it. I remember that day. I was at school. I was in my homeroom watching that morning announcements for my school. I was talking to a friend when a teacher from next door ran into the room and quickly changed it to the news. We were shocked. We saw the 2nd plane hit and all I could feel was Anger. As I heard the reporter talking rapidly and in awe my heart sunk. I thought, where was this at? My brain was going slow because I hadn’t realized that this was in New York. I live in San Diego. I was so lost of words I just sat there. As the days past and we found out what had completely happened I remember sitting in my room thinking, "This is war!" Though I didn’t know anyone in New York, I felt my fellow Americans pain. This is America, my country, in which one day I will serve. You have no idea what kind of anger I felt. My Uncles girlfriend has just joined the U. S. Coast Guard. Soon I’ll join her.
My 1st grade teacher lost her son from the attack from 9-11 and it was sad her son had just had a baby and was just married this was a new job for him and then he died and those who remeber him knew this is what he wanted and then he got killed i knew him and he was nice and my 1st grade teacher will never forget his loving ways and his daughter nd his newley wife.
Since Speptember 11, I have read many poems about the tragic events of that day in hopes of finding one to perform for UIL. In all that I have found, none have been able to portray a true sense or urgency and fear. but this one finally hit home. Reading it, I find its words compelling, and after performing it for my sister, it left her in tears. This piece is both wonderful and empathetic, and I hope more like it come.
i love this poe. mys dad is in the army and he had tp go over to iraq. so that is why i love this poem it means so usc that somebody actually cares about people that you don't evn know! thany-you
I absolutly love this poem. It is the best one I have read on this subject. Thank you for knowing what the world was thinking and feeling.
This wonderful poem is not just read . it is felt within the heart! Thank you for remembering all who were lost.
your poem truly touched me. I felt there pain through your words and it only saddens me that something so terrible had to take place. why? a question that unfortunatley will always remain.
i think 911 changed all our lives and im worried that ppl will forget all the pain every one went through
i loved this poem
This poem was verry touching, it was kinda scarry too. It was like being there. Great job. GOD BLESS THE U. S. A.
hi this was good
may god bless you, the souls of the one's who died, every other human along with terrorists who have different thinkings from us. may god show them the right path and help them too when they feel the need to commit violence. They too are humans, god they need you more than we do
Your poem is really Great! It was very much heart-touching.
This poem actually touched me from the bottom of my heart. Even if I'm 12 years old, it reminds me of September 11, 2001. People lost their love ones that day. And I got to say is that it really touched the bottom of my heart! I love this poem and I hope other people do too!
Thank you for giving a voice to all those who can no longer speak. You've reminded us of the emotions that so many felt at that horrible moment in time that will be forever engrained in our souls.
God! That's all I can say. Now more than a year after 9-11 all I can say is God I Loved that poem. I'm going to print it and hang it in my room. I got a good vision of what it looked like in the twin towers. Yet all I cn say is God. That poem is going to touch a lot of lives. I swear I'll tell ALL of my friends. God, man you better keep writing. Please just write. I love this poem
Ron, you're incredible. To take a situation such as the Attack on the World and create a sence of feeling and some what comfort is amazing. The people who died for this country will live on and they will never be forgotten. World, we medd to stand together in unity and harmony. Forget about creed, sex, race,and ethnicity. Let our hearts be united as one. Love each other for our similarities and our differences. This nation would be so much more indivisible and full of liberty.
OMG, this has to be one of the best poems I have yet to read. Being a poet myself, this one has really touched my heart. God Bless America!
I don't know which I liked better, Your poem or opening comments. I hope people get your message!
This poem actually puts a visual image of that horrific day. Even if you were not in N.Y. you could feel the terror and this poem expresses what could've been you or me. It put a tear 2 me and my companions eye's.
it was sew amazing i can bearly type im so touched! Thank you, i needed that. Im from Canada and yes it did still affect us, we watched it at school and were heart broken and shocked! but ur peom is how many of us feel. Just beautiful words. i cryed, but the ended set me right again. I will go into the world with my head held high and be proud and thankful of what i have.
this poem was awesome. I am really onto poetry so igo into this sight everyday to check for up-dates thanks for writting this poem you have touched not only me but others around the world. god bless you! and keep up the good work. :)
When i read this it made me think. It was a great poem. On that day horror struck our nation but at least we could join hands. That was a great poem i liked it a lot.!
I have no words to describe this poem, It was Wonderfully written, but even that does it no justice. The artist touched my heart and soul. Thank you so much.
this poem is very very good
This poem touched my heart and brought tears to my eyes.4 months after this tragedy. Thank you for your well penned verse. Well done.
I just wanted to say that this poem touched me so much! I'm a thirteen year old girl and they've always preached ot me on school that we would live in a generation of world peace! When this happend I felt helpless and ashamed that they could ever say that.Because what happend on Sept.11, 2001 has not only changed my entire outlook on life but has changed the world forever, and this poem has made me come to these senses of cherishing every moment of life with my family and friends. Once again i thank you for writing this thought provoking poem that touches the souls of all who dwell in world peace! GOD BLESS AMERICA!
I really coul not feel anything on the 9 11 attacks i felt sorry for them but im glad this poem was made becase as me it made me realize a lot of things well i guess ron, you should be very proud of your self you did a heck of a jab
This poem is very touching and very well said.God Bless You, and we as Americans need to stand proud and tall!
This is the most beautiful poem I've seen yet written about the tragedy on 9-11. I want to share it with everyone I know!
Your poem touched my heart and it made tears come to my eyes. This is inspiring and it is really wonderful.
that poem was and my cousin read it and enjoyed it thanks for writing it.
This poem touched me deeper than any other poem that I've ever read. Thanks Ron.
Ron, your poem has portrayed the feelings of those who can no longer speak, and of those who can speak yet can't find the words. On Sept. 11, 2001 and I learned the true meaning of "a heavy heart". My heart felt so heavy I could barely stand up. The ache will never go away, and I will never, ever forget..
This poem is a good representation of all types of people whos lives were lost this sad and greaveful day. Great poem!
I loved this poem. It definately sent chills up me. Thankyou
You wrote a such wonderful poem
Reading this poem sent shivers through my spine. This is truly a beautiful and loving poem. This poem really tells how we have strengthened as a nation by terror.
What a way to describe what happened to our nation
Beautiful. So touching and it says everything, conveying everybody's thoughts and feelings on this devastating disaster.
This poem touched me in a way that no other poem has touched me before. Thank you for this. I can tell that you speak from your heart. Keep up the good work. May peace be with you in this time of horror.
Encapululates the feeling I have of Sept 11th. A superb outpouring of feeling that most of us cannot find the appropriate words for..thank you.
Oh my God,I have thought of the tragedy often.But it has never given my cold chills like you poem.Thank you for opening our eyes.
We are many miles away here in New Zealand but our hearts reach out to America at this time.This poem made me cry at the sheer enormity of this tragedy.
Well done, well said, extremely moving. Great imagery. Captured the very essence of the day from so many points of view.
Your poem was amazing, truly!
this is truest thing i have ever read. nobody can begin to fathom what must have been going threw everyone's mind as these horrible acts of hatered were happening. Ron, this is absolutely beautiful.
I found this to be a very touching and moving really touched my heart.
I cannot find the words to express my feelings in this time of horror. My mind cannot comprehend - my heart cries. "This cannot be ever again." Thank you. God bless - Be safe.
This is a very beautiful poem. I loved it.
my thoughts on paper
Wow! Ron, that is your best ever! This really touched me and I wanted to let you know that!
This poem was absolutely beautiful. The tears will not stop coming.
This poem was so touching.It really touch my heart. Especially since I'm from New Jersey it like and the WTC was like my sencond home.
Thank you Ron.The poem will have a special place in my drawer ,but also forever in my heart. This poem will definitely instill prayer in all who are lucky enough to find it on the net.
It is all the truth. It made me cry, b/c of how true it actually is! I'm glad that somebody was able to word how I'm feeling!
by this great poem of Ron I am giving my hand and my heart-and my protest
Thank you for putting so many peoples feelings to words and so eluquently. We are not a nation of diverse people this day but Americans. Not republicans or democrats but Americans. We must stand behind our President as never before and fight this injustice. With GODS help we will come thru this stronger as a nation than ever. God Bless America
Wow! Very touching.. yesterdays tragedy will NEVER happen again! My friend was sort of involved with the incident... I Pray for all those kill victims, their family, and the survivors!
This reaches me as no other has. Thank you.
I love this peom! Yesterday was a very sad day for america and I am glad that someone wrote a peom about it! Thanks!
You speak for many. Thank you.

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