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 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
but only the inferno
licking at their ankles
and maybe in that numbing
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.