What Kind of Story Is This?
Today was almost over before I realised it. 9-11 in my diary today meant a 9-11 am session in the hospital, followed by a series of meetings... And at nowhere today, even in meeting with one American citizen were the events of 7 years ago today even mentioned. Is it because we have seen so much horror inflicted in retribution for that day that the cruel murder of the people in the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and the 4 planes that went down that day no longer has any emotional power over us? Or is it because we have simply moved on? More concerned about the credit crunch and the fuel price hike rather than the loss of so many innocent lives.
For me, one of the best responses to the tragedy came in the form of a poem by Godfrey Rust released one year after it. I tried to find it on the net (or even any reference to it) but couldn't... so I rustled around my files and found a paper copy. So here it is:
Where was God
on September the 11th? He was begging
in old clothes in the subway
beneath the World Trade Center.
He was homeless in Gaza,
imprisoned in Afghanistan,
running the gauntlet to her school in the Ardoyne,
starving in Somalia,
dying of AIDS in an Angolan slum,
suffering everywhere in this fast-shrinking world;
and boarding a plane unwittingly in Boston,
heading for an appointment on the 100th floor.
When the time came he stretched out his arms once more to take
the dreadful impact that would pierce his side.
His last message on his fading cell phone
once more to ask forgiveness for them all, before
his body fell under the weight of so much evil.
Godfrey Rust © 2002
Please Note Godfrey Rust's own comment on this piece below, where he corrects a number of items in my original post, not least of which is the title, the year of authorship and the fact that this is only part of a much longer poem (and reading the longer poem the "title" attributed to the abbreviated version suddenly makes more sense!). As I fawningly state in my reply to his comment I have been inspired by Godfrey's material for years... Indeed some of my own work owes its origins to ideas gleaned from his... check him out online and on paper... You still can't beat a book of good poetry you can dip into anywhere anytime...