When I first heard that US poet laureate Billy Collins had been invited to write a poem on the topic of Sept 11, all I could think was what a herculean task to straddle. . .
Just how does one put into words all the complexities and layers of such an event?
And how to honor those who lost their precious lives and validate the families. ..without inciting more violence, adding fuel to the fires already starting to burn in the hearts of many angry Americans. ..to steer clear of the rhetoric of revenge, neither condoning nor condemning it, as the former would just be unthinkable and the latter an invitation to backlash and self-righteous defense of the unspeakable horrors to come.
And then I heard him read his finished poem. . . .
And I dreamed of a day when the world would learn to grieve and experience the full impact of its losses and in turn be able to see and feel the grieving of others, the day when that word “evil” would just be banished from our vocabularies.
“When will our consciences grow so
tender that we will act to prevent human misery rather than avenge it?” –Eleanor Roosevelt