Thursday, September 11, 2014

The Names - Guest Post by Annmarie

My lovely friend, AnnMarie, posted this at Fandom Fanatic today.

Thursday, September 11, 2014
 photo 9-11-cover-photo_zpsa04fc75d.jpg

Yesterday, I lay awake in the palm of the night. 
A soft rain stole in, unhelped by any breeze, 
And when I saw the silver glaze on the windows, 
I started with A, with Ackerman, as it happened, 
Then Baxter and Calabro, 
Davis and Eberling, names falling into place 
As droplets fell through the dark. 
Names printed on the ceiling of the night. 
Names slipping around a watery bend. 
Twenty-six willows on the banks of a stream. 
In the morning, I walked out barefoot 
Among thousands of flowers 
Heavy with dew like the eyes of tears, 
And each had a name -- 
Fiori inscribed on a yellow petal 
Then Gonzalez and Han, Ishikawa and Jenkins. 
Names written in the air 
And stitched into the cloth of the day. 
A name under a photograph taped to a mailbox. 
Monogram on a torn shirt, 
I see you spelled out on storefront windows 
And on the bright unfurled awnings of this city. 
I say the syllables as I turn a corner -- 
Kelly and Lee, 
Medina, Nardella, and O'Connor. 
When I peer into the woods, 
I see a thick tangle where letters are hidden 
As in a puzzle concocted for children. 
Parker and Quigley in the twigs of an ash, 
Rizzo, Schubert, Torres, and Upton, 
Secrets in the boughs of an ancient maple. 
Names written in the pale sky. 
Names rising in the updraft amid buildings. 
Names silent in stone 
Or cried out behind a door. 
Names blown over the earth and out to sea. 
In the evening -- weakening light, the last swallows. 
A boy on a lake lifts his oars. 
A woman by a window puts a match to a candle, 
And the names are outlined on the rose clouds -- 
Vanacore and Wallace, 
(let X stand, if it can, for the ones unfound) 
Then Young and Ziminsky, the final jolt of Z. 
Names etched on the head of a pin. 
One name spanning a bridge, another undergoing a tunnel. 
A blue name needled into the skin. 
Names of citizens, workers, mothers and fathers, 
The bright-eyed daughter, the quick son. 
Alphabet of names in a green field. 
Names in the small tracks of birds. 
Names lifted from a hat 
Or balanced on the tip of the tongue. 
Names wheeled into the dim warehouse of memory. 
So many names, there is barely room on the walls of the heart. 

- Billy Collins

This poem is dedicated to the victims of September 11 and to their survivors. 


Billy Collins is an American poet, appointed as Poet Laureate of the United States from 2001 to 2003. He is a Distinguished Professor at Lehman College of the City University of New York and is the Senior Distinguished Fellow of the Winter Park Institute, Florida. Collins was recognized as a Literary Lion of the New York Public Library (1992) and selected as the New York State Poet for 2004 through 2006. He is currently a teacher in the MFA program at Stony Brook Southampton.


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I love the authors and the creativity they inspire.


But most of all, I love how the stories make me feel, make me think, make me believe.

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This is what our family does on 9/11:

We've just gotten back from our local Fire Station here in OKC. Every year the girls make a card, we bake something, and we take it to thank our local firemen. We started doing this two days after 9/11 happened. I found the perfect words to go on the card this year in an email from MedicAlert: May we honor those who died, those who served, and those who carry on. Bethany put them on the card she made that she and Delaney took to school today. They ended up with dozens of signatures, thanking our firemen as they carry on. We will never forget.

And, once again...they were touched.

2 comments:

  1. Thanks so much for posting. As a New Yorker, there are certain feelings this day always brings and it is always heart warming to see others acknowledge and recognize the importance in it's meaning.

    ReplyDelete