Trapped in the dust cloud (september 11th Epic Poem)

The Following is an excerpt from Chapter 14 of the September 11th Epic Poem. It took me from June of 2008 until May of 2010 to write this poem. It is 2,000 lines long and contains 1,499 rhyming pairs.
 
Though hopes improved they dared not move,
            Like troops before the dawn.
Though darkness pressed survivors guessed
            The worst had come and gone.
Escaping death they held their breath
            As long as they could wait.
Afraid, at last, though time had passed,
            They still might suffocate.
 
They had no chance while dust advanced
            To ventilate their core.
The grimy rain was still sustained
            For many seconds more.
As paper shreds engulfed their heads
            The wind began to blow.
They caught a glimpse in rapid squints,
            That looked liked like sleet and snow
 
Initial sounds had now been drowned
            In silence like the grave.
The fearsome quakes had ceased to shake
            The refuge of the brave.
The stillness broke to fits of chokes
            As people quickly stood.
They knelt and coughed and dusted off
            Their mouths the best they could.
 
In one locale a windy spell
            Had chased away the night.
The battered groups, like rescued troops,
            Were basking in the light.
But other fronts received the brunt
            Of what their neighbors lacked.
In darkness deep they fought to keep
            Their eyes and lungs intact.  
 
With fears unquelled survivors yelled,
            Still very much afraid.
To make it through, the wounded knew,
            They’d need somebody’s aid.
The great abyss was shaking with
            The shouting all around.
The strong, though blind, took pains to find,
            The sources of the sound.
 
 
Beside the struts of cars and trucks,
            The frightened ones called out.
With timid feet they found the street,
            Continuing to shout.
The noises merged as friends converged,
            Unable still to see;
Imbued with hope that one more grope
            Would set each other free.
           
They lurched in haste despite the taste
            Of ashes on the tongue.
And when at last their fingers clasped,
            They hugged like they were one.
If human touch can mean this much
            To creatures made from sod;
Then how much more is there in store,
            When folks reach out to God?
 
(Excerpt From Chapter 14)
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