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Poems for the People   -  Poems by the People

About the Poem

As September 11 dawned in 2002, it seemed like everyone and his brother wanted to use the notoriety of the day to further their own agenda. I'm sure each felt their cause was just, their platform important, their arguments appropriate. Some, I'm sure, were even right. But they were still wrong, in my opinion, to use that first anniversary of the deaths of thousands for their own personal political or social leverage. Those who died that day were more than just symbols. They were people, and I think they should be honored as people.

The pipTalk Forums are more politically bent than many, and last year, after reading thread after thread on all we hadn't done, all we had done wrong, and all we still had yet to do, I wrote this as my metaphoric answer to all the soap box ministries. As the second anniversary of that sad day approaches, I would like to again caution our world to guard against the exploitation of this tragedy, however well intentioned.

Some anniversaries should be always remembered, but never celebrated.

The Shadow of Tragedy

Night descends,
as the shadow of tragedy
creeps again across the world.

There are no stars, no moon,
no beacons set to guide my steps,
and even the breeze
refuses to move
in the darkness of this night.

I feel the precipice drawing near.

I can sense its breath,
not as I sense a stirring wind,
but rather in the expansiveness
of the unknown depths
beyond its unseen edge.

One step. Two.
How many dare I blindly take?

Whispers float on stagnant currents,
a cacophony of dire Warnings,
without direction, without surcease.
"Too near," strains their aria,
"You move too near the edge."

They fear the precipice, and rightly so.
I risk not death,
which will come this night
whether I step or stay,
but gamble instead much more.

One step. Two.
Which step will be my last?

"Caution!" whispers the strident voices,
"Lest Liberties be lost
within the maw of preservation,
and Freedom be sacrificed
as we foolishly defeat ourselves."

They are right, I concede,
taking another step to unseen edge.
Yesterday, I listened,
tomorrow, I'll listen again,
but, this night, I don't care.

"Beware!" drums the dissonance,
"Lest tragedy be counted
in dollars and ratings,
with marketing madness
the only memories we keep."

Yesterday, I listened,
tomorrow, I'll listen again,
but this night, they use the night
to decry what they themselves partake,
and I refuse to care.

"Take heed!" urges wisdom,
"Lest Justice be lost
in the stink of retribution,
and righteous outrage confused
with the cancer of empty hate."

I grit my teeth, silently insisting,
I don't care, I don't care, I don't care,
Yesterday, I did,
tomorrow, I will again,
but this night I no longer do.

One step. Two.
If I fall, will the Warnings follow into Hell?

Another step becomes a half-step,
as I feel the jagged edge of Armageddon
prickle the sole of my foot.
Five bare toes dangle helplessly
over the outstretched hand of eternity.

The darkness is no less, the foreboding no more,
but still I lower myself to the ground.
The precipice caresses the back of my knees,
and my feet dangle into an abyss
I can sense but never see.

I remember to breath again.
The sound of my lungs seems deafening,
the Warnings finally fade into silence,
and sitting here makes me feel like
a flitting speck in the eye of God.

All my certainties have long since
faded with the acrid smoke of tragedy,
like the illusions they always were.
There is too little justice, far too much hate,
and a thousand more Warnings every day of the year.

But not tonight.
Tonight, I will not care, will not fret,
will not plan, and I'll be damned if I'll listen
to cries of alarm and disquiet
that refuse to honor my quiet.

Yesterday, I listened.
Tomorrow, I will add my voice to theirs.
Tonight, the shadow of tragedy covers my world,
and I just want to sit on the edge of eternity
and dangle my feet into its void.

The shadow masquerading as night enfolds me,
and in her reflective embrace
I will find what comfort I can.
Yesterday, I cared,
tomorrow I will care again,
but tonight I will simply remember.
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9 Visitor Comments

This poem puts into mind all that has happened and is happening. - Iraq, Katrina, 9/11-. It reminds me that every once in a while we need to pause and remember, without thinking how it could have turned out better. Sometimes the best thing we can do is to remember those who have died or been hurt- because turning our back on them can sometimes be the greatest injury -The reason that I love this poem is because it shows the importance of remembering things past without blaming others for not doing enough. It says that there is a time for everything- for grief, for anger, and for remembrance.
lovely, touching story. one that you cant decide to forget or not.
wow that was so good dange u are such a good writer , dont stop cause u r really good
i loved it and it kinda reminds me of my life
This poem is a great describing poem that touched me. I hope whoever reads it feels the way I did when I read this master piece.
This was a good poem. It could use some work, but nevertheless it was good.
gd gd gd!
This poem is great. I loved it. Thank you for your view of the world.
i like your poem i read other one on other site and it was wondorful and yours was to i love it you sould come to my school and read that to us

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