September 11, 2009

Poetry Friday--9/11

I was speaking with someone the other day who mentioned that her mother's birthday is September 11, and ever since 2001, the family has celebrated the birthday on another day.

9/11 was a powerful event in every American's life, and it still has its consequences.

Perhaps, the only good that came out of the 9/11 event was that it inspired many people to pick up a pen and to write. In many cases, what came out was poetry.

In 2001 I had been writing haiku for years, but, I never wrote Poetry (with a capital "P" as opposed to verse with a small "v"). For me, too, 9/11 was indelibly printed in my memory, and I was compelled to write about one of the haunting visuals from Manhattan.

Snow came early that year
even though the calendar
had yet to mark autumn.
On a Tuesday morning
the sun rose into
a vivid crayola sky,
the clouds puffy as if
drawn by a child.
No one could have known
how quickly summer would pass.

A thunderclap,
then another,
signaled the start
of a new winter.
A terrific wind
released the flurry.
The sky filled with
snowflakes floating,
twirling, almost dancing
across to Brooklyn.

There was no ice
in these flakes,
yet the chill was tangible.
No crystalline patterns—
just the names of strangers,
facts and figures,
corporate logos,
and private matters,
on 8 1/2 by 11 inch
pieces of paper.

© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved
After writing my 9/11 poem, I continued to write, a little poem here, another there. I hope that others, too, continued to write. maintains a page, "Poems After the Attack," which they republish every September. If you can bear the memory, read a few of the poems.

Check out the Poetry Friday Round-Up at Wild Rose Reader.


  1. Diane, this is a stunning poem. Thank you for sharing it. The snow, the thunder, the wind--all these weather comparisons/terms are so effective and heartbreaking.

    My niece Lily turns 5 today. It's sometimes weird, but usually nice that we have a positive association with 9/11 to help offset some of the feeling of tragedy that always comes with that date.

  2. So vivid and haunting ... thanks for sharing.

  3. What images, I cannot imagine being there. I am haunted by this poem and struck by the fact that my youngest students were born post 9/11. Thank you for sharing.

  4. Diane,


    "clouds puffy as if/ drawn by a child," chilling.

    I confess I was expecting some heavy on emotion and much lighter on craft. I was pleasantly, utterly wrong.

    Thank you.