A strange thing happened today.
Out of the blue
A ladder of light came down from Heaven
And with it a firefighter from 9/11.
The new day was dawning
— sunlight glinting on his helmet and boots, fresh with Heaven’s dew —
Just as it did that perfect, Eden morning.
His face was old but his eyes sparkled, like a new sun.
He brought us news.
“Down by the Hudson did I weep
At the slurry wall that stops the river’s seep,
My pain as wide as it was deep.
At our twin temples we fed Mammon, fast and loud
Capitalism unfettered, unshackled, unbowed.
Everything made by man that had been made,
Vaulting ambition, two soaring towers of trade.
Suddenly, from that perfect sky, silver birds flew into our temples
And threw them to the ground.
A wound so deep, so profound
That our nation shook.
Terror clamped our hearts, like a mortal mist
As the towers sheared off from the Manhattan schist.
All in Ladder 3 were killed,
Our bodies crushed, our hearts stilled.
We were crushed, reduced, pulverised
Scattered, splintered, a.t.o.m.i.s.e.d.
Jumpers shattering on the sidewalk — that terrible sound —
Rang like a rattle through my soul.
A gentle cloak of dust covered all
Like grey snow or Belsen ash, a ghostly pall.
That was then.
Time has marched on, for you at least.
Now there are twin pools to collect your tears
Cascading, trident-shaped, down sixteen years
Runnelling your sorrow and your fears
Into the marbled earth.
And I am free.
Now I dance among the spheres and stars:
Electrons, protons, Jupiter and Mars.
Here, now and forever, time and space don’t exist.
Despite the awful human cost
Nothing is wasted, nothing is lost.
We are all energy re-configured.
I am light among the atoms
I ride the particles and waves,
I plumb the depths and fathoms
I feel the music of the staves.
And know this.
We all are loved.
Even the pilots of the silver birds
Who twisted the message, the love unheard.
We all are loved, make no mistake.
We choose to love; we choose to hate.
Beyond the lives and loves undone
The daily round of work and play
The weft and warp of life unspun
The passage of clouds on a summer’s day.
Beyond all that grows under the moon and sun
Beyond the binary of all or none
Beyond what’s ended or begun —
We are all one.”
And so be it.