Poem for the Anniversary of 9/11

On the tenth anniversary
of planes used as killing missiles,
I walked ground zero on a sunny,
late summer morning. 

Wired men in plainclothes with weapons dotted the streets
like fearful fungi. A navy gunboat in the east river. Memorial bagpipers practiced their military skirls in Battery Park.

This morning, on the fifteenth anniversary, the memorials, the relatives, the silences.

The pipers have returned. This time they are playing an old Stephen Foster song, Hard Times Come Again No More, calling on Whitman’s grass to finally begin its tuneful work.

“…’tis the song, the sigh of the weary,
hard times, hard times come again no more.
Many days you have lingered around my cabin door,
Oh hard times, come again no more.”

7 responses to “Poem for the Anniversary of 9/11

  1. Pingback: For more than Three thousand people fifteen years ago this world came to an end | Marcus Ampe's Space

  2. Another fine poem. I recall Dylan singing that Stephen Foster song on one of his albums from the 90″s.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Such a difficult subject to handle well, Burl, but you have found exactly the right tone and such an appropriate approach. I want to congratulate you.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Last night I enjoyed a repeat of Joan Baez’s 75th birthday concert on PBS. She and Emmy Lou did a gorgeous rendition of “Hard Times” and it’s been replaying in my head all day…when I’m not actually singing it!

    I agree with your assessment of Foster’s work. He has been called “the father of American music” by some. His songs are still sung today, and will probably still be enjoyed well beyond the demise of many who have had larger reputations.

    I agree with John about your tone in this poem. The quotation of the Foster song is a perfect touch. Let’s hope there’s no more lingering around our cabin door.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Cynthia! I love that song too. I wholeheartedly agree with your comment on Foster’s influence. Wish I’d seen the PBS special you mention but I’m sure it will come around again.

      Liked by 1 person

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