Poetically Yours - Ep. 6 "9/11" And Bonus Poems

Sep 11, 2020

Welcome to Poetically Yours, where you'll hear the voices of Illinois poets as they share their words about the world around them. This week features Susan Schubert. Her poem is called, "9/11."

9/11 (Nine Eleven)

The time is drawing near

It has been almost 20 years.

I remember it distinctly

A call from my sister

“Turn on your TV,

We are being attacked.”

One tower, in flames

Minutes later, collapsing

Down to the ground.

Another plane hit the next tower

Buildings fall as people jumped

Aghast, we held our breath.

A plane hits The Pentagon

Our leaders taken away to safety

Flights stopped as another

Plane hits a field.

We are crying now

Gasping for air.

Who did this to us?

How could this happen?

Brothers in arms, we put out

Flags to show we are one.

Together, as Americans

Standing tall, find the culprit.

We are at war, attacked

Remember this day

The minutes, the hours

When our country

Fell to its knees

But undivided we rose.

Happened after Pearl Harbor,

A nation undivided

To fight for what we have

Our country, our people

Does it take a war

To make us see we can be

One Nation, undivided?

Susan Schubert
Credit Susan Schubert

Susan Schubert is a member of A-Town Poetics in Aurora, Illinois. She is a published author, with two memoirs written, available on Amazon .com. They are “The Way I Remember It: A Memoir of a Trip to Europe 1971” and “My Place of Dreams: A Love Story.”

Schubert has won accolades for short stories and photographs.

She has poems published in the Kane County Chronicle newspaper and anthologies by Fox Valley writers. Her poem “Aurora” is on a mural in downtown Aurora.

In her earlier days, Schubert sang and played percussion in a rock and roll band.

Schubert lives in St. Charles, Illinois with her dog, Moe.

In remembrance of 9/11, WNIJ is sharing two poems by a couple of northern Illinois poets. This next poem is by Cynthia Guentherman. It's called, "Those Who Jumped."

Those Who Jumped

For some there was no rescuing

fireman’s hand

no smoke-filled

hope-filled stairway

but only the inferno

licking at their ankles

and maybe in that numbing

cold fear

the fists and feet kicked in

before the mind could whisper “wait”

and so the window

became their final doorway.

Or maybe there was time to choose

a few more seconds of life

and so, they shut their eyes

pictured the loved one

and silently shouted

“good-bye dearest sweetheart”

or else in desperation

maybe they thought

there really would be any

safety net stretched

by some unknown someone,

any friendly tree branch

to miraculously snag

and bounce gently down.

Or maybe their minds

focused on an old gospel hymn

swing low, sweet chariot

                lift me up

or            I’ll fly away

and those poor little wingless sparrows

prayed for the Father’s arms

to sweep them up

and so, He did.

This last poem was written by John Bradley. It's called, "The Falling Man."

The Falling Man

There’s the Falling Man.  Sleek.  Anonymous.  One leg bent. 

Upside down.  Surrendering to his fate.  And then there’s the man

falling — Latino.  Goateed.  Tall.  Thin.  In his 30s or 40s.  Beneath 

his white tunic an orange shirt.  A food service worker.  At Windows

of the World Restaurant, at the top of the North Tower.  Observe

how the Falling Man complements the two towers, verticality

on verticality, note the critics.  Thanks to Richard Drew.  Who

framed the Falling Man for me and you.  Whether we wish

to look upon the Falling Man or not.  While the other man,

the man falling, plunges 32 feet per second per second. 

Traveling at 150 mph.  This man does not fall for me or you. 

In these other photos taken by Drew of the man falling, we see

his body in a violent spasm, tossed sideways, arm thrown out. 

Photos that went unpublished.  Because we prefer to see, don’t

we, the Falling Man, not the man falling.  Maybe they’re just

birds, honey, a mother trills to her child that morning bodies

kept falling.  Maybe two hundred.  Maybe more.  Yes, we know

the Falling Man and the man falling are the same man.  But

we can’t seem to hear one say: I’m called the Falling Man because

I’m no longer falling.  Because you won’t let me finish my fall.


  • Yvonne Boose is a 2020 corps member for Report for America, an initiative of the GroundTruth Project. It's a national service program that places talented journalists in local newsrooms like WNIJ. You can learn more about Report for America at wnij.org.