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Twin Towers of Help and Hope

Twin Towers of Help and Hope

Label: Poems | Author: Stanford Erickson
Jan 24, 2013
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The Twin Towers stood out against the sky

Like two colossal silver soldiers gleaming in the sun

Proud, strong monuments of man’s willingness

To challenge if not defy time’s measured march to oblivion.

 

New Yorkers bartered in money, commodities and goods

While working in the towers, dealing with the world’s financial powers.

And soon these steel-girded emblems of man’s enterprise

Became symbols of how trade could improve the world.

 

I worked in one of those powerful towers for nearly ten years,

Arriving early each day on the subway deep in the buildings’ bowels,

Riding the escalators and elevator to my office on the 27th floor

To gaze out of the rib-like windows to a teaming city below.

 

Like all New Yorkers, I was proud of our city’s Twin Towers,

Thrilled when I looked down from the restaurant on the 107th floor

To see the spider-girded bridge that brought motorized and foot traffic

To and from Brooklyn and the double-decked red and white ships below,

That ferried harried workers to sanctuary in their homes in Staten Island.

 

Like all Americans, I viewed with horror as these bastions of world trade

Burst in flames as our own planes were used like scimitars,

Striking not only these symbols of our power but piercing our very soul

As we saw the towers totter and floors fold like a deck of discarded cards.

 

Where once our Colossal of Rhodes stood welcoming all to the New World,

Gnarled girders of steel and broken concrete entomb thousands of us.

Smoke and dust cloud over this sad heap of broken bones and dreams.

Rescue workers dig debris to fill buckets, then stand sill for live sounds.

 

 

Bodies, misshapen but with faces startling serene,

Remind us how fleeting and fragile a flower is life,

And urge us to grieve for these dead and those they left behind.

To cry out for a national day of remembrance and mourning

To be followed quickly by days of fierce and fatal retribution.

 

Already New Yorkers, and most Americans,

Sadly but defiantly look at the emptiness of the New York sky

And raise their voices in a rousing national cry

That we rebuild these Twin Towers of Trade,

These steel-girded emblems of man’s enterprise.

 

But as I look at Lady Liberty, standing forlornly off shore,

I feel she beckons us to do much, much more

Than build monuments to making money for us floor by floor.

She asks us to extend our brilliance in trade to help the world’s poor.

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Liberty’s Lady seems to say, “It is the tired, the poor

To which America has always been a wide open door.

It is now needful for us to reach beyond these sacred shores

And build Twin Towers of help and hope for all the poor.”

Stanford Erickson September 11, 2001

 

 

 

 

 

 

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