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In Memoria: September 11, 2001

September Leaves

The sun angles lower, brightening now in late afternoon.
The air is warm without the heat of July.
Breezes have a biting edge one cannot miss.
Like an understudy hoping to take center stage,
Winter is in the wings, waiting, waiting.
Green, green, droopy green, do not leave.
Towers crumble in a downward tidal wave,
Surf surge from the fiery hurricane,
A violent late summer storm before
Autumn with its wisdom, harvest and hues,
Rewards for work started in Spring, not yet here.
Green, green, droopy green, do not leave.
Trees, some with half of their leaves gone,
While others are bare, bereft before their time.
Like the leaves, droopy green leaves
Tired and thirsty from summer drought
Oh, green, green, uncounted, unknown,
Missing, presumed lost, still green leaves,
We look for you under fallen, crushed concrete,
Twisted steel, dust, dust, acrid dust everywhere.
Swirling dust chokes breath and blinds
Eyes watered by dammed up tears.
Listen, does a leaf stir, move and lightly tap
A bough? All stop. LIsten, is that hope
Whispering faintly or teasing those desperate
For the feel of the sun's warmth under clouded sky
Or the sight of a single, familiar green leaf?

(c)Sept. 2001. Louise Hart

Patching the Quilt in U.S.

The universe, astrophysicists say,
Is connected by invisible strings.
Strings that like tiny threads
Weave all worlds, suns, stars,
Asteroids, comets and even dust
Together. If so, then, too are we
Connected in this land where many
People come to be joined into
A quilt of many colors, a quilt
Larger than any flag left behind
Or flown before. Its colors,
Red, white, black, yellow,
Brown and all shades in between,
Are blended, mixed, intertwined
In cathedral pattern, sewn with
Threads swirled together,
Intermingled, one strengthening
Another, woven into one
Stronger than each individual foreign
Strand, imported, immigrating,
Emigrating, coming together
In hope, part of a wondrous
Comforter, warmer, more glorious
That the world has ever seen.
Ripped, torn, violated,
Cut, slit with knives, attacked,
Stabbed until red strands,
Shreds hang like sinews
Stripped of skin by fire,
Flying broken concrete
And twisted metal shrapnel
From terrorist hijacked planes,
In the aftermath of the irrational,
Unprovoked act of war,
Professionals and volunteers unite,
Move with one will, one faith.
Bewildered, yet resolute, they
Sift through rubble, remnants,
Seeking, assessing, what they can save,
Hopefully resuing, preparing for removal,
Leveling before memorial rebuilding.
Quilters, with vision as clear and un-failed,
As those who first with careful stitches assembled,
Made this tapestry of wonder, unparalleled,
Now against smoke and dust, don masks
And lift the tattered comforter onto their laps
To gently touch, remember, reverently bury
What cannot be recovered, what was so
Wrongfully taken from them,
As with needles and steady hands,
Stitch by stitch, square by square,
They seek to patch, re-establish,
Recover the work of art forever altered
By the fanatical acts of criminals.

(c) 12 September 2001. Louise Hart

Mannahatta, October 2001

Walt Whitman loved you, loved your old Indian name,
Your streets teeming with people, your moving
Ships, harbor bays, your skyscrapers that even then,
Towered over ordinary landscape, to stand
Like church, temple, mosque shrine steeples,
Hope personified, built by men with muscles flexed
With sweat in the sun as they walked steel girders,
Lifted into place facades of concerte. He loved
Your immigrants, the seasons that
Move like waves upon the year. He loved the
Unique voices, manners and hospitality of your people.
He loved your inquisitive minds and most of all,
He loved the song of your spirit that resonates through
Your lives. You, cooks, clerks, restauranteurs,
Bond traders, steel workers, shopkeepers,
Receptionists, administrators, managers, accountants,
Waitresses, dishwashers, cleaners, electricians,
Plumbers, window washers, firemen, policemen,
Doctors, nurses, therapists, ambulance drivers,
Salesmen, entrepreneurs, bankers, financiers,
Engineers, scientists, astronomers, technicians,
Architects, builders, carpenters, factory workers,
Tailors, landscapers, street vendorss, brick layers,
Attendants, pilots, ground crew, reservationists,
Painters, writers, editors, actors, artists,
Photographers, jounalists, clerics, worshipers,
Librarians, students, teachers, politicians,
All who knew to create with their hands,
And minds, now incinerated with crushed hearts.
Your spirit, he knew, gives color to the human tapestry
That lays upon this earth and reaches for the starts
Far beyond floor 104 or the corridors reserved
For airplanes flying on courses shore to shore.
You were at the heart of his leaves of grass.
He called you his city as we do today
Who even from a distance hear your cries
Of sorrow and pain, smell the stench of death
And heartache that pollutes your air, and see
Your spirit, the spirit of which Whitman sang,
Rise again undaunted, unconquered, toughened
And determined even as you dig to recover,
Remember, bury, plan and prepare to rebuild
The spires to the heavens by which you praise His name.

(c) 2001. Louise Hart