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.