Never Forget. Two Poems from Poetry after 9/11: An Anthology of New York Poets

Today many people are thinking about what happened fifteen years ago in New York,162486 Washington DC, and Pennsylvania. There’s a powerful anthology of poetry called Poetry After 9/11: An Anthology of New York Poets, where I found the following two poems. The first, by Stephen Dunn, is a villanelle.

Stephen Dunn
Easy for almost anything to occur.
Even if we’ve scraped the sky, we can be rubble.
For years those men felt one way, acted another.
Ground Zero, is it possible to get lower?
Now we had a new definition of the personal,
knew almost anything could occur.
It just takes a little training, to blur
A motive, lie low while planning the terrible,
Get good at acting one way, feeling another.
Yet who among us doesn’t harbor
A grudge or secret? So much isn’t erasable;
It follows that almost anything can occur,
Like men ascending into the democracy of air
Without intending to land, the useful veil
Of having said one thing, meaning another.
Before you know it something’s over.
Suddenly someone’s missing at the table.
It’s easy (I know it) for anything to occur
When men feel one way, act another.


Miranda Beeson
An iridescent exhausted finch
found its way to your home
in the aftermath.
Trapped between screen and pane
you palmed him, brought him in,
built him a cage that was not a cage.
A hidden perch for the nights.
An aviary filled with light and seed
for the days.
Where had he come from?
A pet store in the shadow of the towers?
A tiny door unlatched by the blasts?
We pondered dark scenarios.
The survival of this slight speck
of feathered perfection seemed
more important than anything else
we could think of those first few weeks:
more important than the planes,
the slow motion tumble,
the man in his business suit
who fell through the air without
the benefit of wings.
Never Forget. Two Poems from Poetry after 9/11: An Anthology of New York Poets

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