On this 10th Anniversary of 9.11. ie 9.11.2001, here on 9.11.2011 is another poem I recalled:
A Terrible Splendor
To A.B. Yehoshua for ‘a terrible splendor…’ in 'Facing the Forests'
When the world went up in flames it burned my books,
Thoreau, Mendlessohn and Diderot,
up from the forest flew the cawing rooks
and crows and ravens, nature’s lava flow
reversing gravity or mocking God,
reversing time, as flight solidified
to lifeless pitch or serpent turned to rod,
a floorless crater or a child who died.
When the world went up in flames it burned my soul,
Sabbath, loves and memoirs, history;
out of the window flew my certain goal
that I had lived for and my family
would judge and redirect their halting feet,
forsake beliefs embedded in their bones.
Now conflagration of my icons greet
my eyes while ancient symbols turn to stones.
When God awoke and said “let stars explode”
I was an angel, awed, bewildered, lost;
I had been blind but certain of my road
sailing a captained ocean, trusting, tossed;
stark horror, beauty, terrible splendor burst
upon my eyes and ears, my nose and brain -
I knew our fragile lives were changed and cursed
convulsing chaos like a world insane.
In 'Facing the Forests' AB Yehoshua describes a planted memorial forest in Israel going up in flames; for more telling details read the short story. Some Israelis watching the horrific burning of the WTC in NY on 9.11 quoted Yehoshua and were ironically misunderstood. Their words were insightful and prophetic.