Nine-Eleven / 11 September

9/11 Heeft, zeker in Amerika tot een vloed van gedichten geleid, te vinden op heel wat websites. Zowel “gewone burgers” als erkende dichters grepen naar de pen. Op deze vijfde verjaardag hier een kleine selectie uit het werk van de “professionals” .



What Do We Tell the Children?

If we can’t promise
That it will never happen again,
Or that it won’t, if it happens again,
Happen to them,
Or that if it does happen again,
And this time to them,
We will come save them,
Or that, if we can’t save them,
Somebody else will,
Or that, if no one can save them,
It won’t hurt,
Or it won’t hurt that much,
Or it won’t hurt that long,
Could we tell them
To please stop asking so many questions?

Judith Viorst


Going To Work

On their daily trips
Commuters shed tears now
Use American flags
Like veiled women
To hide their sorrows
Rush to buy throwaway cameras
To capture your twin ghosts
Frantically I too
Purchase your memory
On post cards & coffee mugs
In New York City souvenir shops
Afraid I’ll forget your façade
Forget my hallowed Sunday
Morning Path Train rides
My subway travels through
The center of your belly
Afraid I’ll forget your power
To transform helicopters
Into ladybugs gliding in the air
To turn New York City
Into a breathing map

To display the curvature
Of our world

Nancy Mercado


September 15, 2001, Lower Manhattan
at Pine and William Streets

Four days later, near the hollow
between standing buildings–but not
near enough, or too near–the pale
ash lay on cars, awnings, architraves,
hubcaps, on the high lamps’ long
aluminum arms, in sidewalk crevices, on
curbstones, gutters, grills, ledges under
the plateglass windows of investment
banks, on manholes, drains, fire
hydrants, in cracks on macadam beside
marble steps up to the modern sculpture
whose bronze geometry blurred in dust;
in every wire twist of fence round wild
weeds in a vacant lot, each grass stem spiked
with fake white snow or spilled paint dulling
the green, and bits of flying paper, larger
gray flakes, blew–“Millenium Hotel,” the rates
for luxury suites–impaled on auto antennae,
flattened on walls or stuck in street mud, while
everywhere the nearly invisible mist of ash
kept falling onto eyelids, brows, hair:
entering nostrils, ears, mouths, the utterly
pulverized, pure, fine atoms of bodies
of the dead sat on the tongues of the living.

Jane Augustine