read the 9/11 epic poem. Chapter 5

CHAPTER FIVE  (An Intermission)                
As fires raged a calmer stage
            Was acted on that day.
A million bees were flooding trees
            Some many leagues away.
The woods and streams were clothed in greens
            On ground, and rock, and branch;
As breezes played near cities made
            By birds and mice and ants.
 
The scattered rills on many hills
            Were swathed in giant oaks.
But hollow chunks appeared where trunks
            Were felled by light’ning strokes.
In other spots with even lots
            A motor shook the ground.
The woods complained as humans came
            To chop the forest down.
 
The lumberjacks made swift attacks
            On trees with gnarly knobs.
Though work was rough it paid enough
            Compared with other jobs.
They cut the logs with sharpened cogs
            Then bundled all the posts,
Then paid a charge to use a barge
            To ship them down the coast.
           
These ships would ride the inland tide  
            And harbor at some bay,
Where flatbed trucks like rows of ducks
            Would haul their loads away.
The conquered trees could taste the breeze
            Before the final kill.
A hired crew would feed them to
            A hungry paper mill.
 
Then once they’re done the semis come
            To take them to the store.
Their rehashed guts give paper cuts
            That make your fingers sore.               
The spotless sheets make good receipts
            Or pages in a book.
They’re also used to print the news                          
            Where stock investors look.                            
 
In old New York these pages work
            As hard as any drudge.
They never prate or come in late; 
            They never hold a grudge.
They do not mind to work inside
            An office full of drones;
Though scores each day are tossed away,
            Replaced by perfect clones.
 
Though used like dirt, the page exerts
            The power to impress.
The business-wise will maximize
            The paper’s usefulness.
The lazy lout with no hand-out
            Will only get a frown.
It does not pay to even say
            Unless it’s written down.  
 
 
The things we print on special tint  
            We claim as cold hard facts:
Like drinking bans or building plans         
            Or profit-sharing pacts.
But such receipts are strong deceits
            For victims with no clue;
We think that when we use a pen
            It makes our dreams come true.
 
The written page has been the stage
            Where fools scribble proofs.
What might look right in black and white
            Is often made by goofs.
So many books are made by crooks
            I’m forced to cast this stone,
And take a chance this daring stance
            Invalidates my own.
 
The words we sow are meant to show
            The truth we wish to see.
We use each fact with subtle tact
            To prove what cannot be.
Our mental halls have paper walls
            Around their sacred vaults,
That form a maze to block the ways
            Our logic is at fault.
 
But paper prints cannot convince
            The universe to change:
These crumpled wads are phony gods 
            Invented by our brains.
Since days of yore our creeds and lore             
           Have changed from day to day;
Yet with contempt we each attempt                   
            To have the final say.
 
These paper plans escaped our hands
            That mid-September morn,
When buoyant dreams were pierced by screams
            That gave us much to learn.
Each human crop from start to stop               
            Itself, must learn this truth:                 
That private fate will devastate               
            The paper dreams of youth.
 
 
The center stood the best it could
            As heat grew more and more.
The steel frames were soaked in flames
            That thawed their metal core.
But while we watched our sight was blotched
            With paper by the reams:
The outward flow as thick as snow
            Immersed the sky in streams.
 
It seemed so strange to watch them range
            Across the cobalt sky.
With movements soft they flew aloft
            Where pigeons loved to fly.
On natures’ breath they fled the death
            And lazily escaped,
While robed in grief and disbelief
            The burning towers gaped.
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