Rose Lake

Recalling 911

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Recalling 911

by Rose Lake

A monstrous crash! Two soaring towers –

vast cradles in which dreams were born

and raised – were razed in desperate hours,

an infamous and bloody morn.

The doctors flew, the cry ‘code-red,’

a nation gripped, in horror mired –

as nurses ran and donors bled,

then wept when blood was not required.

Before the towers’ final crash,

which left New York awash in haze,

some leapt, or turned, and turned to ash –

Still, heroes’ boots traversed the maze.

With quickened step, their deeds would save

the rising breath-of-life in those

who honor all the free and brave

who rescued men from evil foes…

while in a vicious sister-plot,

another plane forced from the sky –

where heroes’ conduct, not forgot’,

still echoes in that famous cry:

“Let’s roll!” his call still beckons bold

to living men who choose to fight

for happiness and life – who hold

this creed as sacred – as our right.

Now thousands never will return,

their lives at end – but not their worth –

for living men can ever learn

from heroes who have walked the earth.

Blind faith and force destroy Man’s goals –

reducing them to dancing chaff

left floating over blackened holes –

by fire made light as specters laugh…

and prance in streets, appalling ghouls!

whose ignorant and grisly aims

hold heaven prize for gruesome fools

that murder men and die in flames.

Oh drifting ashes, ghastly snow –

eclipse the meek and evil path.

Let Reason’s breath ignite the glow

of Justice, gleaming – grim with wrath.

Beneath the wrecks, obscured by dust,

there burns the vibrant soul of Man.

His cause, Man’s life on earth, is just!

Where Justice reigns, her soul commands:

Arise and fight, hear Freedom’s chord!

Hold sacred enterprising dreams –

with lucid fury, wield my sword

that’s torn its sheath and burst the seams!

Crush evil states without remorse.

In bloody consequences mire,

regimes that strike, or threaten force

against the free – scorch them with fire.

With mind and force, defend Man’s right

to build his earthly towers high –

in Freedom’s reign, by Reason’s light –

“My life!” Man’s greatest battle cry.

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Rose, these are beautiful and heroic sentiments. Thank you for expressing them---for a day we should not forget and for a future that should be.

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Thank-you so much, Rose! What stirring words these are.

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To Rose:

You're an excellent poet, and you will only get better.

I love your phrasing in the poem, and I especially like the fact that this is one time where poetry or song lyrics hail Reason and Man's life on earth as powerful forces against terrorism and the irrational, instead of what we usually hear: that the way to fight Islamic terror is to fight for God as well as country.

Please keep writing, and--if I may ask this--do you mind if anyone ever asks you to write a poem about a certain topic (e.g., nature, happiness, freedom, genuine romantic love, etc.)?

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I have been out of town and would like to thank Brian, Betsy, Vespasiano, and Jim for their very kind comments on my poem. I doubt they can possibly know how much I appreciate them.

[...] do you mind if anyone ever asks you to write a poem about a certain topic (e.g., nature, happiness, freedom, genuine romantic love, etc.)?

I don't know if I'd mind, because I've never been asked! Sounds okay, but I don't know if I could deliver. I'm not really a poet in the sense of it being a vocation or avocation. I used to read more poetry, and write a little -- a long time ago. But these days the only poems I read are Brian's -- the love poems especially -- which I just love.

This particular poem was a very special case for me. I worked on it, on and off, for six years beginning on the first anniversary of 9/11.

And speaking of special cases...

Betsy,

I'd like to request the change I PM'd you about, while retaining the original post date and the poem's first place in the thread, because I'd prefer to have just one version of this poem in public, and preferably, the one with that small change that I couldn't think of quite in time.

The reason I didn't change it before posting (as I know we are supposed to do) was because I was simply unable to think of the right change, was leaving town, yet really wanted to post the poem on the 9/11 anniversary this year, rather than just on any date, or waiting another full year for the next anniversary.

So I went ahead and posted, knowing that I was not perfectly satisfied, but assuming that I would be unable to come up with the right change before the day was out. And though I actually did think of the change later that day, I was getting ready for a short vacation, was really out of time, and simply had to leave.

But I've just returned and am making this one very special request for the change.

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But I've just returned and am making this one very special request for the change.

There were extremely good reasons to make an exception here, so all is fixed.

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Rose, that is truly a great change. Thank you for your perseverance, through six years---till now.

p.s. And thank you for your good strong words regarding my poems.

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This particular poem was a very special case for me. I worked on it, on and off, for six years beginning on the first anniversary of 9/11.

Oops. That's five years - not six - a little better.

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Like I say, Rose, I really like your phrasing, like "his call still beckons bold", "...whose...aims hold heaven prize for gruesome fools", and "Oh drifting ashes, ghastly snow -- eclipse the meek and evil path". I especially like this last one; a meek response to the attacks is definitely evil, in my view.

Regarding another poem: In "The Metaphysical versus the Man-Made", the third essay in Philosophy: Who Needs It, on page 27 (of the Signet paperback edition), Ayn Rand writes, when talking about serenity and courage: "Serenity comes from the ability to say "Yes" to existence."

That statement has stayed with me these past twenty-one years since I first read it. I can see how serenity would spring from one's ability to embrace the absoluteness of existence, but I haven't at present got the words to describe that.

Maybe you can--in a poem. I'd love to read a rhyme about the natural orderliness of the Universe and how an individual's awareness of that can bring a sense of inner peace.

Anyway, that's my "request", kind of like requesting a song on the radio. I hope you'll consider it.

Thanks!

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Rose, when you said you'd spent so much time on it, I thought I'd go back and read it carefully, rather than skim it. Despite it's sobering message, it's fun to read, and you've packed so much in there, I think I'd have to read it several times to get the full message out.

As I was reading it I felt the echo of Edgar Allan Poe and thought Vincent Price should be reciting this. Beautiful job.

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Rose, when you said you'd spent so much time on it, I thought I'd go back and read it carefully, rather than skim it. Despite it's sobering message, it's fun to read, and you've packed so much in there, I think I'd have to read it several times to get the full message out.

As I was reading it I felt the echo of Edgar Allan Poe and thought Vincent Price should be reciting this. Beautiful job.

Thank you for saying this. I think you're right of course, that there's a lot there. And I love the idea of someone like Vincent Price reading it. It would be great to hear a reading by a man with a dramatic voice and delivery. And then, when it gets to the voice of Justice, a woman’s voice should come in, and (maybe) back to the man’s voice, just for the last line, or at least for the “My life!” part of it.

I'd love for a couple of great readers to be recorded, and for accompanying visuals, see a photo, photos, or video, with subtitles. If anyone's ever interested in doing such a thing I'd be thrilled to see it happen.

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Thanks Rose Lake for a beautiful and inspiring poem in remembrance of that awful day in 2001. ---Lest we forget--.

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Recalling 911

by Rose Lake

A monstrous crash! Two soaring towers –

vast cradles in which dreams were born

and raised – were razed in desperate hours,

an infamous and bloody morn.

The doctors flew, the cry ‘code-red,’

a nation gripped, in horror mired –

as nurses ran and donors bled,

then wept when blood was not required.

Before the towers’ final crash,

which left New York awash in haze,

some leapt, or turned, and turned to ash –

Still, heroes’ boots traversed the maze.

With quickened step, their deeds would save

the rising breath-of-life in those

who honor all the free and brave

who rescued men from evil foes…

while in a vicious sister-plot,

another plane forced from the sky –

where heroes’ conduct, not forgot’,

still echoes in that famous cry:

“Let’s roll!” his call still beckons bold

to living men who choose to fight

for happiness and life – who hold

this creed as sacred – as our right.

Now thousands never will return,

their lives at end – but not their worth –

for living men can ever learn

from heroes who have walked the earth.

Blind faith and force destroy Man’s goals –

reducing them to dancing chaff

left floating over blackened holes –

by fire made light as specters laugh…

and prance in streets, appalling ghouls!

whose ignorant and grisly aims

hold heaven prize for gruesome fools

that murder men and die in flames.

Oh drifting ashes, ghastly snow –

eclipse the meek and evil path.

Let Reason’s breath ignite the glow

of Justice, gleaming – grim with wrath.

Beneath the wrecks, obscured by dust,

there burns the vibrant soul of Man.

His cause, Man’s life on earth, is just!

Where Justice reigns, her soul commands:

Arise and fight, hear Freedom’s chord!

Hold sacred enterprising dreams –

with lucid fury, wield my sword

that’s torn its sheath and burst the seams!

Crush evil states without remorse.

In bloody consequences mire,

regimes that strike, or threaten force

against the free – scorch them with fire.

With mind and force, defend Man’s right

to build his earthly towers high –

in Freedom’s reign, by Reason’s light –

“My life!” Man’s greatest battle cry.

It's a few days past 9/11, but never too late to recall this magnificent poem. Thank you, Rose Lake.

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Recalling 911

by Rose Lake

A monstrous crash! Two soaring towers –

vast cradles in which dreams were born

and raised – were razed in desperate hours,

an infamous and bloody morn.

The doctors flew, the cry ‘code-red,’

a nation gripped, in horror mired –

as nurses ran and donors bled,

then wept when blood was not required.

Before the towers’ final crash,

which left New York awash in haze,

some leapt, or turned, and turned to ash –

Still, heroes’ boots traversed the maze.

With quickened step, their deeds would save

the rising breath-of-life in those

who honor all the free and brave

who rescued men from evil foes…

while in a vicious sister-plot,

another plane forced from the sky –

where heroes’ conduct, not forgot’,

still echoes in that famous cry:

“Let’s roll!” his call still beckons bold

to living men who choose to fight

for happiness and life – who hold

this creed as sacred – as our right.

Now thousands never will return,

their lives at end – but not their worth –

for living men can ever learn

from heroes who have walked the earth.

Blind faith and force destroy Man’s goals –

reducing them to dancing chaff

left floating over blackened holes –

by fire made light as specters laugh…

and prance in streets, appalling ghouls!

whose ignorant and grisly aims

hold heaven prize for gruesome fools

that murder men and die in flames.

Oh drifting ashes, ghastly snow –

eclipse the meek and evil path.

Let Reason’s breath ignite the glow

of Justice, gleaming – grim with wrath.

Beneath the wrecks, obscured by dust,

there burns the vibrant soul of Man.

His cause, Man’s life on earth, is just!

Where Justice reigns, her soul commands:

Arise and fight, hear Freedom’s chord!

Hold sacred enterprising dreams –

with lucid fury, wield my sword

that’s torn its sheath and burst the seams!

Crush evil states without remorse.

In bloody consequences mire,

regimes that strike, or threaten force

against the free – scorch them with fire.

With mind and force, defend Man’s right

to build his earthly towers high –

in Freedom’s reign, by Reason’s light –

“My life!” Man’s greatest battle cry.

Men of reason do not serve and we will not forget. Thank you, Rose.

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I love your poem, Rose.

"My life!..."; that's what it really comes down to, isn't it? On this tenth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, I want to say that I believe the ultimate target of the terrorists' destructiveness was an idea, implied in that line from your poem, and implicit in the design and size of the Twin Towers: a human being's right to exist for his or her own sake.

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