Memorial 9/11/2003 (Greenburgh, NY)

by Alice Feeley, RDC


Myriad walls rose and fell that day, walls

of fire scooping breath away, walls

of smoke choking every neighborhood, walls

of water dissolving roofs and streets, walls

of fear screening out thousands of hands stretched

toward another’s, invisible voices calling

one another, stumbling feet in a race

towards someone else’s steps, no one a stranger

when what mattered was life.


But walls of fear just hold their ground,

take precious time to crumble down.

Bent on division they mock the light

love gives for sight of what is just beyond.


Witnesses, we break open the earth

into which one hundred eleven neighbors

returned from their work.  From here

another kind of wall will rise, covered

with testimony in bright earthen tiles.  Compassion

will splash across this mural, join our jagged edges

in luminous account.  We lift our story from the earth

and take our lessons from the sky

where radiance of stars and energy of sun

pass through minutes, months millennia

before they reach our sight.  All that is light

takes time to wake us

from the watches of our nights.

A two year testament is gathering now

in a flux of light so strong that we can see

through any wall, so bright all witnesses

can recognize we are as one

when what matters is life.




Alice Feeley was Poet Laureate for the Town of Greenburgh some years ago and had composed a poem about 9/11 honoring local residents at a ceremonial dedication of a wall in their honor. The title is "Walls Disappear," a title which insists upon our working to make it so in these turbulent times.