The September 11th Epic Poem was originally written between June of 2008 and April of 2010.  It is 2,000 lines long and has 1,498 rhyming pairs. Below is a link to a review by another website.

“The September 11th Epic Poem” Is a Must Read by Dr. Watchman

  The September 11th Epic Poem

       By Daniel Schilling © 2010 all rights reserved

PROLOGUE: (The early Anniversaries)  
In mid-September ev’ry year
            When corn is six feet tall,
The days of summer seem secure
            Against the threat of fall.
But in the end the snows descend
            From cloudy winter skies;    
And lakes will freeze when all the trees                            
            Are stripped of their supplies.
At least for now there is no plow
            that’s tearing up the land:
The fruits of Earth complete their birth, 
            Received from God’s own hand.     
The farmers dare to gladly share
            With all the neighborhood;
For now at last their fears have passed
            That harvest won’t be good.
But while we wait we meditate           
            On mem’ries from the past;
Our minds recall the day we all
            Were altered by the blast.
That date, well known, is etched in stone,
            On far too many tombs;
And ev’ry year these thoughts draw near
            When mid-September looms.   
But now’s the time to sip the lime
            And bask in summer’s breath.
It seems so rude when thoughts intrude
            Reminding us of death.
We’d rather not give half a thought
            To all that has been done,
For fear that this might make us miss
            The final days of sun.
In days like these before the freeze
            The human heart is full.
The plants we reap will help us keep
            Revival in our soul.
We’ll shuck the corn some breezy morn
            And split the shares in crates;
And when we cease, we’ll taste the peace    
            That fam’ly work creates.
And later on when daylight’s gone
            We’ll gather once again,
And take the chance to laugh and dance
            With fam’ly, folk, and friends.
We’ll light the wood that smells so good,
            With tinder crisp and dry;
And all the sparks will swim like sharks
            In oceans of the sky.
But is it right to joke all night
            Forgetting what we’ve learned?
When widows weep and still can’t sleep
            For husbands crushed or burned?
We’ll pause, perhaps, amidst some lapse,
            And say a private prayer;
And wish the best for those depressed
            For someone slaughtered there.
We all mean well; it’s hard to tell
            The thing to do these days.
We each reflect with great respect,
            But in our diff’rent ways.
Now some will preach and make a speech,
            Or talk about the war;
While others strive to live their lives
            The way they were before.
The experts say that dreadful day
            Is better left behind.
They have not found a single ground
            To keep it on the mind.
It’s not correct to introspect
            The things you thought and did,
And most of all there is no call,
            To tell them to your kid.
But in our hearts our bolder parts
            Are telling us they’re wrong;
That those who died should live in pride,
            Enshrined in endless song.
They try to keep our souls asleep
            Inside a sterile fence,
But in the end we can’t pretend
            It’s still September Tenth.
CHAPTER ONE (The Way It All Began)
The thunder fell that night in hell;
            The Devil roused his mates.
The demon hosts and ancient ghosts
            Came storming through her gates.
The Specter Death released his breath
            That night by future graves;
And killers sworn to die next morn’ 
            Embraced the sleep of slaves.
In strippers’ clubs and topless pubs[1] 
            These phonies had been seen.  
There’s been reports of sordid sports
            Their culture calls obscene.
They bore a grudge and came to judge
            The way our women dress;
But when they stayed they likewise paid
            To view some naked flesh.           
At dawn’s first light they caught their flights
            With lust beneath their eyes.
It gave them pride to help decide
            Which person lives or dies.
Each smiling face that took its place
            Was added to the tray,
Of sumptuous pies that helped comprise
            This killing-feast buffet.
The sun was bright, the wind was slight,
            As planes were taking off.
The flight control was packed and full,
            With many jets aloft.
A scattered shroud of fog and cloud
            Was present in the west;
But otherwise the spacious skies
            Were showing off their best.
The pilots strained to raise their planes
            To higher altitudes, 
Where jets could cruise while patrons snoozed
            For lengthy interludes.
A stewardess took first requests
            For omelets, rolls, and fruits;[2]
While businessmen took time to tend
            The neckties on their suits.
As engines roared the crews ignored
            A group of scattered youths,
Whose nervous poise and lack of noise
            Provided subtle clues.
The sat alone with eyes of stone,
            Like rejects at a prom;
Or feeble grooms, when marriage looms,
            Who’d rather stay with mom.
Their throats felt weak; they could not speak,
            Apart from nods and sighs.
No friendly taunts nor chatty aunts
            Could garner long replies.
They must not reach in thought or speech
            To others in that throng,
Lest intercourse would breed remorse
            And tell them they were wrong.
They kept their spots with tortured thoughts
            Amongst their hated foes.
A deed this great seemed more like fate,
            Than something that they chose.
They closed their brains as they’d been trained,
            To keep their feelings blind;
For fear they might be damned on site,
            If now they’d change their mind.
The airplane lurched but still they perched:
            Impatient and alert.
But one had gone inside the john,
            To peel back his shirt.
He took some clay, the theories say,[3]
            And shaped the edge just right;
And stripped it back to build a pack
            That looked like dynamite.
His friends outside, though petrified,
            Were set for what was next.
They’d yell out loud to scare the crowd,
            And snap the pilots’ necks.
They held their breath and dreamed of death,
            As throats began to burn;
But through their fear they now could hear
            The door begin to turn.        
They grabbed their knives and cursed their lives,
            By spelling out their choice.
The fiends below who watched the show
            Had reasons to rejoice.
Their lairs were filled with men who killed
            To pay some groundless score;
And down in hell, if things went well,
            They’d soon have nineteen more.
While quoting psalms they showed the bombs,
            To keep the crowd at bay.
As pilots died they frankly lied
            About their plans that day.
Their speech was curt: “You won’t be hurt—[4]
            Now shut up and behave.”
But those they cursed could face the worst;
            More strong, more blest, more brave.
As judgment loomed the planes were doomed,
            But God stood back and hid.
And folks today still often say
            They don’t know why He did.  
The timid men repeat again:
            “You have to keep your faith.”
While others dare to now declare
            That God is just a wraith.
Then all those jets like gambler’s bets
            Exploded in debris.
But one did not achieve the spot
            They chose initially.
For on this flight there was a fight
            With luggage, bags, and fists.
And while it pitched the plane was ditched
            By stubborn terrorists. 
We don’t know why they chose to die; 
            But in some sense we do.
We all have sinned when reason thinned;
            We’re all insurgents too.
We all have hate; we’re all ingrate,
            With egos out our ears;
When hope’s renounced, our love gets trounced,
            By pressure from our peers.
CHAPTER TWO   (New York City)        
As Tuesday dawned a nation yawned
            And faced a day of sweat.
Their human hearts had metal parts
            With Lincoln’s silhouette. 
A penny made is int’rest paid
            To mortgage back your dreams,
But ev’ry seed that’s sown in greed
            Will leave by other means.
In old New York a day of work
            Was starting to unfold.
The younger pants came in advance
            To out compete the old.
But no one knew as daylight grew
            That death was on the slot;                         
That vapor lanes from giant planes     
            Were closing on their spot.                 
On crowded streets the yellow fleets
            Were fighting for their turns.
And homeless folks cast scornful jokes
            At bleary-eyed interns.
The drivers cussed while taxis bussed
            Their loads of human freight,
As endless plights of crimson lights
            Were forcing them to wait.    
But as they stood the neighborhood
            Was startled by a sound,
That rattled glass and spooked a mass
            Of pigeons on the ground.
While drivers swerved their eyes observed
            The towers on the mall:
For as they steered a jet appeared
            And rammed into the wall.
“Oh holy shit, the tower’s hit!”      
            The watchers all exclaimed.
Bewildered eyes surveyed the skies
            For answers unexplained.
The people froze, but voices rose,  
            Astonished, scared, and awed; 
The very same who swore in vain
            Invoked the name of God.
The time and space seemed stuck in place
            Upon those sacred halls.
The plane was drowned without a sound
            In glass and steel walls.
The scene was bright as waves of light
            Confirmed their greatest fears.
As moments passed, the noisy blast
            Abruptly reached their ears.
For many blocks the aftershocks
            Were rippling face to face.
And talks were struck to reconstruct
            The scene that just took place.
The crowd outcropped and traffic stopped
            As pedals hit the floors;
And all around you heard the sound
            As drivers opened doors.
“My God, the sight; my brother’s plight!”
            yelled someone with his head.
The tower burned and people yearned
            To know if friends were dead.
For those come down from out of town
            It almost made them ill,
And those who cried for kin inside 
            Could barely look at will.
As moments passed the humans massed
            In groups of four or five.
They did not care who else was there,
            Just glad to be alive.
The greater creed of instant need
            Compelled them to be friends,
Whose goings through became the glue
            That joined unlikely ends.
They shared their hugs and friendly shrugs
            When words could not express
The prayers they made for meager aid
            To fight their helplessness.
The tower’s rise above their eyes
            Became a hellish lens,
When human souls in bitter throes
            Jumped screaming to their ends.
With fearful awe at what they saw
            The watchers swore and —–.
Their focus now became on how
            Survivors could be saved.
As musings grew on what to do
            They heard a welcome noise:
The crimson fleets were flooding streets     
            With hook and ladder boys.
Their sirens blared to tell the scared
            That help was getting through.
They came in force to face the worst; 
            Aware what they must do.      
With boots well-shined, their rigs on time,
            They bounced along the route;
And rushed to quell the burning hell,
            While most were rushing out.
No time to lose their engines cruised   
            Down busy boulevards.
Past stores, and malls, and public halls,
            And sometimes urban yards.   
The quickest path to face the wrath
            Was just the path they took.
They made a race to reach the place
            The tower burned and shook.
Above their eyes the cobalt skies
            Were masked in smoke and flame.
The men could taste the need for haste
            The closer that they came.
They too, could see, the hot debris
            Lay strewn around nearby,
And heard the thumps when victims jumped
            From ninety stories high.
With lengthy strides they rushed inside,
            Afraid they’d do no good.
But nonetheless they did their best        
            To save the ones they could.
We wonder why they had to die
            For some beyond their aid,
But very few who made it through
            Are sorry that they stayed. 
CHAPTER THREE (Response to the North Tower) 
A fireman will make a stand                               
            For victims all alone.                               
When hope is bleak he’ll help the weak
            Left stranded on their own.
He does not care what skin you wear
            Before he makes that dive. 
The vital fact, though white or black,
            Is that you’re still alive.
As units merged the chiefs converged                  
            To start the rescue ops.
The fire crews got instant news         
            From port and city cops.
The eager teams went up in streams
            Like giant arthropods.                      
With fears repressed they led the quest
            Despite the chilling odds.
They climbed each stair with tanks of air,         
            But some were nagged by doubt.
The jet that crashed had also smashed                    
            The elevators out.
They faced a deed that might exceed  
            An athlete in his prime:
The massive chore could take them more
            Than eighty minute’s climb.[5]       
As minutes flew the numbers grew
            Of those who joined the hike.
While men prepared their leaders blared
            The orders through the mikes.
The chaos reigned but men were trained
            To take it all in stride;
They didn’t know yet another jet
            Was bearing down outside.
The stairs were packed with people racked
            by fears of ev’ry kind.
The most seemed dazed as if some haze
            Had left them feeling blind.
The urgent need they felt for speed
            Allowed them to descend.
They all perceived they must achieve,  
            The tower’s safer end.                                   
As numbers swelled the men compelled
            The people to stay calm.
Their very sight relieved their plight
            And filled their hearts with balm.
The fighters told the weak and old
            To wait upon the stair,
For young and strong to come along
            And take them in their care.     
The tensions eased as hope increased
            and people kept their place.
It was not long before the throng
            Had reached the tower’s base.
They fled the stairs in groups and pairs
            Above the atrium;
From where they left, confused, bereft,
            They saw more fighters come.  
With will to win the trucks came in
            From places far away.
The men were keen to join the team
            And help their friends that day.
But as they walked around the block
            They heard the people yell:
For on the street that held their feet
            Another shadow fell.
This second plane had quickly gained                                       
            Momentum from its fall.
With better aim it sought to maim
            A lower piece of wall.
The masses froze as shadows rose,
            And swallowed up the sun—
They yelled and rasped, but as they gasped,
            The deed was quickly done.
A blazing tide a village wide
            Rolled out into the skies.
Anouncers seen on TV screen
            Could not believe their eyes.
The time of day seemed swept away
            As people changed their view;
While moments lapsed our world collapsed
            And birthed itself anew.
We knew at once this second punch
            Was something to be feared.
The déjà vu we all went through
            Was clearly engineered.
It was no joke: the source of smoke
            Had doubled from before.
The stinging fact we’d been attacked,
            We now could not ignore.
We knew right then that other men
            Had planned to have us killed.
But could this plot have not been stopped
            If God had only willed?
Was it perhaps, some moral lapse,
            That made us lose the twins?
Had we received, as some believed,
            A judgment for our sins?
But if that’s true, then how can you
            Account for those who died?
The tender son who hurt no one—
            The meek, expectant bride?
And then what’s more, each noble score,
            Who tried to save the day:
Could these recruits be substitutes
            For those who got away?                     
These thoughts combined in ev’ry mind
            As watchers scanned the skies.
These doubts were asked as buildings basked
            In wreaths of sure demise.
The heart went faint who tried to paint
            A picture of the fate,
Of those who tried to stem the tide
            Before it was too late.
Into the throes with heavy clothes
            Those firefighters walked.
They made no press to second-guess               
            Where others would have balked.        
To stop and think when at the brink
            Could cost them victims’ lives.
They made a prayer that God would spare
            The grieving of their wives.       
CHAPTER FOUR  (Hopeless Predicaments) 
Our hearts stood still as human will
            Received that second blow.
The morning sun seemed shocked and stunned
            By what occurred below.
The jaws were dropped by people stopped
            On streets already packed;
With little clue what else to do,
            If other planes attacked.
To know despair like many there
            Can drive a mind insane.
Each gray-haired vet began to sweat,
            Who’d seen the second plane.
The city’s best would face a test
            Like none they’d ever known.
In short supply they had to try
            To start a second zone.
Their eyes seemed quenched, their guts were wrenched,
            As more of them came in.
Their heartstrings broke to see the smoke
            Engulf the second twin.
Their minds reached out to those in doubt
            Above each tower’s wound;
And some surmised the ones alive
            Already might be doomed.
The light of hope is hard to grope
            By someone badly trapped,
When ev’ry route to get you out
            Is quickly, soundly, scrapped.
When voices cease, and doubts increase,
            And all your friends have died;
You make a wish that God exists,
            To save you from inside.
Above the breach the towers each
            Were filled with troubled souls.
Whose bodies faced a hopeless case
            That left them few controls.
They thought they might escape by flight,
            If some could reach the roof;
Unless the cloak produced by smoke
            Was helicopter-proof.
In fractured streams they joined as teams              
            To help their injured friends.
They clenched their teeth and fought the grief,
            Yet feared it was the end.
The young interns took frequent turns              
            To mitigate their plight.                         
With cheerful tact they claimed, in fact,            
            They’d all get home alright.                   
But wishful trust could not adjust
            The substance of their fate.
And ev’ry scheme their minds could dream,
            They saw evaporate.    
We still don’t know what size of flow
            In panic, upwards flocked.                      
But this we do: that none got through,                  
            Since all the doors were locked.[6]                 
The depths of scare they had to bear
            My heart cannot expound.
And if it could I never would
            Attempt to write it down.
These lines were made to serve as aid  
            For intellectual gain,  
But in the end I don’t pretend
            To understand their pain.
I was not there to watch them stare
            Destruction in the eyes,
Or ask the dead what filled their head
            When life lost its disguise.  
But nonetheless I’ll try to guess
            The questions that they met,
So folks like you can think them through    
            With all the time you get.
These ones who died deserve our pride
            At least for what they bore.
The lists of names are halls of fame
            For this and so much more.
And that is why I’m sworn to try
            To pay the most respect.
You can be sure I won’t endure
            To see their mem’ries wrecked.
I’ll paint at times throughout these rhymes
            A shadow of these folks,
Whose hope gave way that awful day
            When fraught with dreadful yokes.
I don’t imply their strength was shy,
            Or claim it’s wrong to flee:
I’d hate to think how much I’d shrink
            If that poor guy was me.
My point instead from why they fled
            Is that their souls were wise.
It’s common sense to jump the fence
            That holds our sure demise.
Our souls have points at which the joints
            Will crumble down and break.
The world is rife with things in life
            That none of us could take.
We know so well that life’s a hell,
            And living’s wracked with pain.
Our time on Earth seems hardly worth
            The mediocre gain.
Since time began the hurt of man
            Has plagued this giant ball,
And some suggest we nuke the rest
            To quickly end it all.
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.
CHAPTER SIX  (The Collapse of the South Tower)
As papers flew the fires grew,
            While hopes of all grew dim.
And though they tried we knew inside 
            The rescue plans were slim.
The circumstance reduced the chance
            The fighters might get through.
Perhaps with pluck and lots of luck
            They still could save a few.
But those up high amidst the sky
            Were saddled with their doubts.
They looked for cheer despite their fear
            And hoped they’d soon get out.
Their joints felt weak, they tried to speak,
            But many mouths were mum.
As moments fled they felt the dread
            Of what was still to come.
I’m so perplexed by what comes next
            I find it hard to write.
I’m even scared I’m not prepared
            To illustrate their plight.
It takes, I think, a private link
            To fully comprehend,
The total cost of what was lost
            When hundreds met their end.
A sense of doom began to loom
            More thickly then before.
The occupants all got a sense
            Of terror at the door.
They felt alone with hearts of stone,
            And stomachs sick with gall;
And in their grief and disbelief
            They felt their tower fall.
They felt a sway as walls gave way
            And plaster crumbled first.
Then ceilings caved as columns waved
            And pipes and fixtures burst.
They heard the crunch as once by once
            The tower fell by floor,
And hopes were nixed when noises mixed     
            To form a dreadful roar.
The folks whose feet were in the street
            Broke out in horrid cries.
Despite the scenes their eyes had seen,
            It still came by surprise.
The nervous crowd who watched out loud
            The harsh yet distant fear,
So quickly felt their feelings melt
            As pain and death rushed near.
The tower caved as watchers raved
            And strength was turned to dust.
The great collapse occurred in snaps
            That ground it up like rust.
The people stared, still unprepared
            To see that thing erode:
It just seemed fake to watch it break,
            And topple and implode.
To those nearby it seemed the sky
            Itself had fallen down.
The boiling mist first clenched its fist,
            Then slammed it on the ground.
A torrid gust of brick and dust
            Released a deadly spray;
Whose random shots at human clots
            Blew many folks away.
The dreadful sound was all around
            As masses broke in fear.
They dropped their bags and ran like stags
            When hunting time is near.                        
Behind their backs the streets turned black,
            As smoke came bulging fast.
The fearsome cloud immersed the crowd,
            And covered them at last.
The risk of death increased its breadth
            From dream to living threat.
And some were caught who often thought
            Their time could not come yet.
These friends and kin who perished in
            That single, deadly, swipe;
Seemed unprepared for what they fared,
            Like fruit that’s not yet ripe.
Their lives, so young, to which they clung,
            Shone bright, yet unfulfilled. 
It seems so odd a loving God
            Would let them all be killed.
The pain and care they had to bear
            Is hard to understand;
But more than this, the uselessness  
            Of future deeds they’d planned.            
For some, though poor, still gave out more
            Than all the wealth they kept.
And some were rich who served a niche
            By paying patients’ debts.               
Had God gone mad who killed the bad
            Along with all the good?
What sage today can really say
            His ways are understood?
These ones he picked to die so quick             
            Deserve our great respect.
Their humble lives epitomize
            The best of either sex.
They helped us fight both day and night,
            Our anger, lust, and greed.
In days like these when doubts increase                       
            They’re just the kind we need.
For you who think we’re on the brink,
            Can learn from those who fell:
You modernists who dare insist
            There’s nothing here but hell.
If nine of ten are greedy men
            Who never will repent,
Then what will you attribute to
            The other ten percent?
Are they all sick, or dumb, or thick,
            Who sometimes do what’s right?
Perhaps you’ll find the fact you’re blind
            Is why you see no light.
If still you claim we’re all the same
            You really must be dense:
A single deed that’s not from greed,
            Destroys your best defense.
CHAPTER SEVEN    (The Innocent Dead)
The autumn sun became undone           
            As all the air grew thick.
And ev’ry chest became compressed
            From breathing powdered brick.
The people ran without command:
            They had no time to think.
Their bundled nerves had swift reserves
            That pulled them from the brink.
But many souls in wretched throes
            Had nowhere they could flee.
Their human veins were only stains
            Beneath the thick debris.
Each smoking street seemed incomplete
            In minds of grieving kin,
Where empty space usurped the place                  
            Survivors should have been.
The cluttered roads were filled with loads
            Of rubbish piled high.
The fire-trucks were badly stuck
            In gravel thigh to thigh.
The air was thinned by stale wind
            Created by the fall.
Survivors saw the vapor thaw
            That once engulfed them all.
The growing sight seemed stark as night
            In contrast to before.
The smoking stacks brought mem’ries back
            Of bombings from a war.
The twisted shell produced a spell,
            Protruding bent and maimed;
But by it’s side with waning pride
            A tower still remained . 
It stood so strong, yet not for long:
            We knew its time was brief.
We witnessed lots of cam’ra shots
            Absorbed in rage and grief.
The city’s pet and silhouette
            Would shortly fall away.
It seemed so strange these things could change
            In under half a day.
We cursed and swore and promised war,
            For war had been declared.
They sent their men to kill our friends
            And no one had been spared.
The things they did to little kids
            Who happened in their path,
Forced God above to show his love
            By showing them His wrath.
But through their deeds they sowed some seeds 
            Upon that fertile land,
That had no part in what their hearts
            So wickedly had planned.
For God with care had long prepared
            To ease the souls who roamed.
And on that day he found a way
            To bring some children home.
He changed defeat to joy complete
            By letting many die.
And watched them rise with purer eyes
            Beyond the brightest sky.
He called them fast to see at last
            The better land he made,
And as they flew desires grew
            To watch their planet fade.
Beneath the heap these martyred sheep
            Had left their flesh and bone.
Instead of pain they now could claim
            A place to call their own.
And though their fates would cause their mates
            To live their lives forlorn,
The ones deceased were now released
            From hate and hurt and scorn
They knew no more the constant war
            That ev’ry human fights,  
Or all the dross that made them toss
            On guilty, sleepless, nights.
They went to bed to face the dead
            With eyes and feelings blind,
But when they woke the shadows broke            
            And left their fears behind.
They found themselves in groups of twelves[7]   
            With names and ranks prepared.
With jobs and tasks; despite their pasts,
            Forgiven, loved, and spared.
With pain removed and minds improved
            They basked in what they felt:
The frosts of Earth that froze their worth
            At last began to melt.
CHAPTER EIGHT   (Actions and Consequences)
When life is here we live in fear          
            Afraid that we will die,
But when we’re dead and life is fled
            We’re left to wonder why—
We lived with fears and wasted years
            In never-ending doubt,
And never took the time to look
            And find our futures out.
This truth is worst for humans forced
            To spend their deaths in hell,
But even they who get away
            Don’t always do it well.
You’d think the youths who knew the truths
            Would learn before they’re old,
That ev’ry snore will cost them more
            Than pots of bullion gold.
If you believed the Maker grieved
            Each time you did a sin,
Then would you not give half a thought
            To stifling lusts within?
If deeds of worth you did on Earth
            Would help the second you,
Could you at least before you’ve ceased
            Find something good to do?
Now many say there is no way
            The Christian God exists,
And that is why they live and die
            For stuffing mouths and fists.
But others here will claim He’s near
            And call Him by His name,
But when you watch the lives they botch
            You see them act the same.
Now some of these are refugees
            With half-way fears of hell.
From where they stand they have no plan
            For living very well.
I dare suspect the lives they’ve wrecked
            Are witness to the fact,
That though they try to hide the lie,                      
            They’ve never joined the pact. 
The lives they lead are full of greed
            Though simple they may be.
The times they spend display a trend
            Of living pointlessly.
And though they’ve missed they still insist
            That God controls their lives,
But those they tell they’re doing well
            Need only ask their wives.
They waste away their lives of clay
            When diamonds should be there.
Whose polished grace reflects through space
            The colors in the air.
The Christian life should not be rife
            With mutant lusts and needs,
But when it’s true it sparkles through
            With truly selfless deeds.
The human soul is dark as coal          
            With greed and vice at length.
Although it longs to right its wrongs,
            It somehow lacks the strength.
But those who vowed they’ve been endowed
            With power from above;
Should represent, with drive unbent,
            God’s mercy, peace, and love.
For through their eyes they’ve seen the lies
            Of money, sex, and fame.
For they as well had dreams of hell
            While struggling blind and lame.
But when their fate became too great
            To face in flesh alone,
They hearts were saved from what they craved
            By power not their own.
Our God will help the needy whelp
            Who cannot help himself.             
Who’s learned he must decline to trust
            The trophies on his shelf.
The soul who knows what bitter throes
            His moral life is in,
Will take the knee and ask that He
            Will save him from his sin.
For heaven’s world cannot be filled
            With proud and pompous folks,
Who claim they’re in because their sin
            Is less than common blokes.
They love to dine and sip their wine
            Assured they’re doing well;
But God is just who knows he must
            Release them into hell.
But those instead among the dead      
            Who rise to heaven’s gate,
Are they who lunged and took the plunge
            Aware they must not wait.
The horrid crimes they did at times
            Are paid and now ignored;            
But what they do from now on through
            Results in their reward.
CHAPTER NINE  (The Power of False Gods)    
In ancient times when human minds           
            Were trapped in lies and fear,
It seemed to men who lived back then
            The gods were always near.
They’d send us jolts of thunderbolts            
            To break apart the rocks,
And when they breathed the valleys heaved
            In seismic aftershocks. 
The pagan dream produced a scheme
            We now would call absurd:              
The bloody price of sacrifice                                 
            By sense of guilt incurred.          
The human flesh was slaughtered fresh
            To idols on the crags.
The price was dear to reach their ears
            Without the threat of plagues.
Now most today will quickly say
            Those fools were deceived.
To claim a rock can think or talk
            Is obviously naïve.
We’ve learned by now it’s dumb to bow
            To logs once chopped by axe;
These “gods” were carved by people starved
            For scientific facts.
We shake our head and ask what led
            The ancients to devise,
Outlandish rites of imps and sprites
            Unseen by human eyes.
We understand that mortal man
            Needs hope when truth is sparse,
But why consult some hare-brained cult
            That’s obviously a farce?
The answer here is hate and fear
            Had bound their souls like chains.
The truth they chose had been imposed
            Upon imprisoned brains.
The siren song of gods more strong
             Than all the other brands,
Was just enough when times were tough
            To fill their grasping hands.
The ancient priests who prayed to beasts             
            Would make outrageous claims.
These out-right frauds would make up gods 
            And give them human names.
They’d find a king to which to cling,
            Who’d give them royal funds;             
To guarantee with certainty
            His army always won.
Most certainly by now we see
            The problem this creates,
When private creeds address the needs
            Of independent states.
The weak and poor are sent to war,
            While monarchs hang aloof;
And forced to trust some sacred bust
            Without a shred of proof.
If God exists he must be miffed                                                        
            When humans use his name,                     
To tell a lie and multiply                                      
            Their private wealth and fame.
Religious frauds who say the gods
             Will heed their ev’ry call,     
Had better pray both night and day
            There is no God at all.
If God resolved to get involved      
            From on His mighty throne,
He wouldn’t pick some selfish hick
            And talk to him alone;
He’d choose to send all kinds of men
            From many lands and times[8],
And punish them more harshly when 
            They dare commit a crime.      
A godly priest—I’d think at least—
            Is one who can suppress:
Myopic thrills and selfish frills
            Desired by the flesh.
He lives his life avoiding strife,
            Yet shares in others’ plights;
And puts the stress on righteousness,
            but not his private rights.
But all the rest pursue a quest
            Of power and control.
The god they serve in pious verve
            Is just their selfish soul.
They way they vent their true intent
            Is really not complex:
They show their cards by grasping hard
            For money, fame, or sex.
They grab the youth who search for truth
            And promise them the world,
And plant a rage at such an age
            That gets their pupils killed.
They tell their crew they have to do 
            The will of God who reigns,
But once they’re cowed they’re not allowed
            To even use their brains.
But God is love who will not shove
            The weak and poor away.
These ones so dear can surely hear
            The things He has to say.
When faith is true the light comes through
            And floods the needy mind,
But those who play to make them stray         
            Have something else to find.
CHAPTER TEN (The Natural Limitations of Science)  
I’ve heard it said the human head
            Is far more dense than gold,             
And twice as slow as lava flow
            When magma’s turning cold.                      
We’re quick to see stupidity
            That other folks endorse,
But on our own we’re often prone
            To do it ten times worse.
We love to mock the load of crock
            The ancient priests employed,
To help maintain the steady gain
            Their cunning ilk enjoyed.
But as we sneer at faults made clear
            Through centuries of doubt,
We make the same through what we claim
            Our brains have figured out.
We’ve learned with tact to find out fact
            By starting out from scratch,
By throwing out the things in doubt
            Until our theories match.
But where we err is when we dare
            To stupidly insist,
That things our nerves cannot observe
            Do therefore not exist.
As knowledge grows our science shows
            That truth can now by found.
But only when it’s used by men
            Who stay within its bounds.
We must not let ourselves forget
            The limits at its core,
Or ever cook a science book
            To give us something more.              
For some will boast, who’ve learned the most,
            In what they’ve seen or touched.
But nonetheless they must confess,
            They do not know that much.
The things they’ve learned were slowly earned            
            Through methods well-controlled,   
Yet still right now they don’t know how
            To cure the common cold.
So how can they explain the way
            The universe was made?
Who need to see a recipe
            To mix their lemonade?
They must forget they owe a debt
            To thinkers gone before,
Without whose brains they’d still be trained
            To say their prayers to Thor.
They claim to gauge the very age
            Of ev’ry single star,
By placing hopes in telescopes
            That only see so far.
To see these views they have to use
            A single line of sight;
Which won’t enhance the tiny chance
            Their theories could be right[9].                            
And yet they think we’re on the brink
            Of solving all that’s true,
And if we’re tough and work enough,
            There’s nothing we can’t do.
This buoyant claim is quite insane
            In light of all we know,
 Since nature draws restrictive laws
            That say how far we’ll go.
That’s not to say there is no ray
            Of truth that science brings.
To some degree it’s helped to free
            Our minds from harmful things.
And with that said I’ll go ahead
            And give it ample praise:
An honest search is always worth
            The dividends it pays.
But candid quests through man-made tests
            Will fail to attain,   
The sum of all we like to call  
            The physical domain.
And more than that we wonder at
            A world beyond our reach,
With so much more we must explore
            That math can never teach.
Our minds possess a hungriness                   
            For something more complete,
Than bread and milk and beds of silk
            And leather for our feet. 
We need to try before we die
            To get our hopes resolved;
But truth is masked by questions asked
            That science cannot solve.
We need to know before we go
            What happens in the end:
If all, or none, or certain ones
            Will someday live again.
Should nature’s laws become the cause       
            Of all the things we do?
Or will the Lord, himself, reward
            The friend who’s kind and true?
For centuries we’ve tried to tease
            The answer out in parts,
Convinced some day we’d find a way         
            By virtue of our smarts.                    
But when in time we could not find
            The answer with our head;
We sulked and hedged, and then alleged,
            That God was clearly dead.
If God exists he might persist                                 
            In telling us himself.
But on our own it can’t be known,                                           
            Despite how hard we delve.
If there’s a chance our Maker grants
            A path to truth and grace,
We owe our sons and everyone’s
            To see if that’s the case.
But finding balms to cure our qualms
            Is hard for modern eyes.
The sacred texts of all the sects
            Are seen as earnest lies.
We cope with grief and disbelief
            While hurtling towards death.
One hundred years[10] of growing fears
            Have left us out of breath.
   CHAPTER 11  (The 20th century)  
Some years ago in times of woe
            When wars were being fought,
A star appeared, whom most revered,
            And told us what he thought.
This poet’s name[11] is wreathed in fame
            In both the hemispheres,
Who wrote about the inner drought
            That bathed our world with tears.
The planet’s plight was bad despite
            Our scientific gain.
It seemed to those who watched its throes
            The world had gone insane.
When faith and trust were in the dust
            And money reigned supreme,
The hopes of some had now become
            A nightmare of a dream.
They thought at last with all that passed
            The church had been disproved.
Which left, disrobed, a mournful globe,
            Where God no longer moved.
Restraints were lost at such a cost
            That all became annoyed.
It cast a hex on even sex[12]
            ‘Till nothing was enjoyed.
The sages wept as poets kept  
            Their logs of misery,
While girls were forced and dads coerced
            Through painful liberty.
The final cords that bound the hordes
            From passion’s strongest gusts,
Were torn apart so human hearts
            Could writhe in burning lusts.
As feelings tossed respect was lost
            For things proclaimed as “old;”
With so much haste they left in place
            A single moral code.    
It used to be that sanctity
            Of other folks was king,
Until the law of what you saw
            Allowed you anything.
It now was wrong to keep the throng
            From taking what they want.
The rest were told they must not scold
            What others loved to flaunt.
“Just close your trap and stop your flap,
            ‘Cuz no one’s getting hurt!”
But that excuse is just a ruse
            To get beneath the skirt.
The time had come to pay the sum
            For years of vagrant hopes.             
 They cast their dice for paradise
            Upon a slipp’ry slope.                          
With feet of lead that had no tread
            They caved their culture’s floor;
‘Til things took place that cracked the base,     
            Which time could not restore.
With selfish pride they justified 
            What once was named as sin.
And built new doors by endless scores
            To let more pleasures in.
But all their sense could never quench
            Their wish to have it all:
They had no clue what houses do
            When stripped of all their wall!
The times got tough and men got gruff
            As sin refused their cure.
Throughout the West a horrid test
            Was starting to appear.
Though badly harmed, the allies armed
            To fight a second war;
As Nazis blitzed the battle pitched
            More deadly than before
Grenades and guns by metric tons
            Were shipped across the sea.
As things got worse our land was forced
            To face the enemy.
The hot napalm and atom bomb               
            Were used to good effect,
But long before we won the war
            We lost our self-respect.
Survivors cracked but most came back
            To some-what happy homes.
With Europe burned the scribes returned  
            To write their gloomy poems.           
Another star had gone too far                  
            Who held our nation’s pride;
He took the stage while battle raged
            To serve the other side.
This native son had truly done
            What some could not expound.
They dragged him back to face the flack:
            That traitor Ezra Pound.
The special court was out of sorts
            And said he was insane,
But this small fact did not impact
            His literary reign.
Our poets quote the lines he wrote
            While standing on the brink,
And still today they frame the way
            Our scribes are taught to think.
His groupies still will say his ill
            Was brains and not his heart;
They’ve not decried the Jews who died
            While Ezra was so smart.
I’m quite enraged they call him sage:
            The leader of his class.
I don’t know why our teachers try
            To give this man a pass.
The simple fact they have his back
            When praises should be nixed;
Supports my poke that what’s been broke
            Has never yet been fixed.
They still refuse to face the news  
            That modernism reeks.
Their surge, once bold, has grown so old,
            It’s turned them into freaks.
They’ll throw a fit but won’t admit
            The things their writings lack;
For now their sin has trapped them in
            A one-way cul-de-sac.
CHAPTER 12 (The Cultural Collapse) 
Since we’ve been born we’ve had to learn
            That life is just a taunt.
We never seem to have the means
            To get the things we want.
It seems instead, to get ahead,
            You have to break some trust;
When stripping bare the bonds of care
            You listen to your lusts.
Since you were young this thought has clung
            Like magnets to a ‘fridge,
Enticing you to see the view
            That’s just beyond the ridge.
But if you make this great mistake
            Your world will fall apart,
Producing pain as if a plane
            Has crashed into your heart.
You know by now this inner call
            Is empty at its core.
Experience will leave a sense
            Of always wanting more.
Each sin you do will cause you to
            Commit another one,
Despite the fact each selfish act
            Was really not that fun.
That’s why we try to struggle by
            With doing good as well,
But still repeat each ugly feat
            Our lips will never tell.
We think we should project the good
            Our hands will never do:
So kids who grope for parents’ hope                                       
            Will never have a clue.
And thus we teach our young to reach
            For fruit we’ve never grasped,                  
With hopes that by the time we die
            Our sins will not be passed.
Yet more than not this noble plot
            Will fail in its bid;
Since most will choose to quickly lose,                  
            The way their parents did.
They’ll nod with grins upon their chins
            And claim they understand,
That when the urge begins to surge
            They must restrain their hand.
They’ll say we’re wise with honest eyes
            That gleam like virgin snow,
But with that said they’ll go to bed
            With girls they hardly know.
The truth will burn when first we’ve learned
            What stupid things they’ve done.
But once we’ve wept we must accept
            Our daughters and our sons.                   
And as they age we’ll lose our rage
            And give them room to roam;
Content to trust, that they, like us,
            At last will find a home.
For how can Dad be very mad   
            Who once did lots of pot?
Can it be fair to make them bear
            A load that he could not?
For we, in spite, turned out all right,
            When love began to grow;
So these ones, too, might make it through,
            If we just let them go.
But still we bleed to watch them feed
            With lack of self-control,
The same deceit that help defeat
            The light inside our soul.
Why must they waste with careless haste
            Their lives as if they’re dirt,
When they could use their gift of youth
            To help and not to hurt?
But they will sob it’s not their job
            To live a life that’s charmed.
How dare we claim that they’re to blame,
            If someone else is harmed?
It seems less bad to live a tad
            With pleasure as their guide,   
Once they’ve explained that life restrained
            Is just like suicide.
For they will say no single way
            Is better than the rest.
The golden law in all its awe
            Is really not the best.
They’ll say we’ve built a sense of guilt
            Through artificial wit;
For modern lore cannot ignore
            Survival of the fit.
For Darwin proved that it behooved
            All life to fight and strive,
Since none of those who helped their foes 
            Could flourish and survive.
The modern state invalidates
            The view of days gone by:
That folks should seek to help the weak
            Whom nature chose to die.
We’ll interrupt and shut them up
            Before they dare say more.
And then we’ll act as if the chat
            Has really been a bore.
Our simple pride attempts to hide
            The fact we’re blowing smoke;
The things they’ve said outside their head
            Are really not a joke.
Our kids at last have fully grasped
            The age of self-respect.
When people flaunt ‘the heck they want,
            And no one dares object.
There still exists some moral mist
            To shroud the naked ground,
But those resolved have since evolved
            The ways to get around.
Their search for fun is never done
            ‘Till life begins to halt.
And though they’ve maimed the friends they’ve claimed,               
            It never is their fault.
They search for prey to blast away
            Like walking, talking, bombs;
Their toxic load will help explode                       
            Their sisters, sons, and moms.
CHAPTER THIRTEEN (The North Tower Trap)  
The sum of all I’ve said ‘til now
            May seem obscure and vague,
And ev’ry point seems out of joint
            When patience starts to lag.                             
But if you’ll wait to extricate
            Your brain from what I’ve said,
You’ll understand there is a plan
            Behind the things you’ve read.
I’ve spent some time and lots of rhyme
            On philosophic notes,
Which have a sound that’s often found
            In bumper-sticker quotes.
But I insist my aim in this
            Is surely not by far,
To earn some pay through each cliché
            I stick to someone’s car.
For have no doubt this song’s about
            That mid-September day,
When thousands died and millions cried
            In anger and dismay.
My goal remains to help explain
            The horror that was there,
And merge this with the very pith
            Of ev’ry day despair.
The things I’ve said at last have led
            Us back to where we were:
When tower two collapsed right through
            And shortly was no more.
And ev’ry one in tower one
            Now faced a mortal threat;
But those who knew what they must do
            Could still be rescued yet.
The fire chiefs engulfed in grief
            Had left the tower’s base.
They understood that all who could
            Must leave in any case.
The ones who grasped what just had passed
            Felt horribly bereft.
They all agreed they’d later need
            Whomever still was left.
The mayday call went out to all
            Who still remained inside,
Directing those with radios         
            To flee before they died.
The most who heard that vital word
            While climbing towards death;
Were turned around and started down,
            While slowly catching breath.
But other pairs who climbed the stairs
            Had not received the news.[13]
They still embraced the grueling race
            Straight up that smoking fuse.
They thought of chaps engulfed in traps
            Above them in that hell.
These daring men did not know when
            The southern tower fell.
As some came down they shortly found
            That others still came up.
Bewildered men yelled out to them
            To ask them what was up.
They told each band that head command
            Had ordered all to leave;
But some of these despite their pleas,
            Inclined to disbelieve.
The most agreed to leave with speed,
            But some remained and died.
They chose to stay, survivors say,
            For reasons far and wide:
To not descend without a friend,
            Or else to rest and talk;
But others paused to help the cause
            Of those who could not walk.
Confusion grew as crew by crew
            The exodus began.
They took their time to make the climb,
            Exhausted to a man.
They thought that when they reached the end
            They’d learn what’s going on;
But to their awe instead they saw
            That ev’ryone was gone.
The leaders’ post was just a ghost:
            The plaque alone remained.                
They looked around for sight or sound,
            But only silence reigned.
The pallid crust of chalky dust
            Induced a kind of swoon,               
Which made it seem as in a dream                                             
            They’d stepped onto the moon.[14]                                           
They paused in shock, afraid to talk,
            As if already dead.
The empty shell produced a spell
            That hypnotized their heads.
They felt a voice, against their choice,
            Enticing them to rest;
But seasoned guys could recognize
            This final, lethal, test.
The time had passed, the die was cast
            To close the second act.
This tower built to never wilt     
            Could not remain intact.
The steel beams and welded seams
            Had weakened at their heart.
They’d fought so hard, but badly scarred,
            At last they came apart
Then ev’ryone who still could run
            Was dashing for escape.
The ones who’d walked a couple blocks
            Remained in hopeful shape.
The ones whose hides were just outside
            Had somewhat even odds,
But all the pairs who roamed the stairs
            Would see the face of God.
The crushing noise engulfed these boys,
            With little pain, I hope.
A moment’s sweat is all they’d get
            For hearts and minds to cope.
These heroes died because they tried,
            With much success, I add,
To save the lives of dads and wives
            Whom other people had.
CHAPTER FOURTEEN (In the Streets of Destruction) 
There comes a time in ev’ry mind
            For humans to decide,
If they can know where people go
            Whose bodies just have died.
It burns the most when death’s so close
            You glimpse the skull and hood;
And wonder how, a breath from now,
            You might be gone for good.
This need for fact was not abstract                   
            When tower one collapsed.
With growing fear that death was near,
            The victims’ brains synapsed.
So many boys would weep with joy,
            Surprised they were alive;
While others died, convinced inside,
            They somehow would survive.
As hearts were stopped the tower dropped,
            Already cloaked in mist. 
The structure broke with puffs of smoke
            As floors and ceilings kissed.
The orange eyes that scorched the skies
            Were fanned one final time;
To show, anew, what God could do                   
            To those who caused this crime.
The peoples’ tongues were in their lungs
            The moment that they grasped,
The dreadful fate that might await
            The lives to which they clasped.
They ran like deer with primal fear
            Across the urban street,
But while they lunged the tower plunged
            A thousand chilling feet.
As noises pulsed the ground convulsed
            And shook their piece of town,
While tons of trash began to smash                       
            The pavement all around.                      
The bricks and rocks rained down for blocks
            Eroding down to sand;
And people fled among the dead,                               
            Provided they could stand.
The human herd with vision blurred
            Was frantic for escape.
They tried to jog beyond the fog
            That kept on changing shape.
Survivors tell how many fell
            While struggling in the dark,
Till most were blind and had to find
            A place to wait and park.
The ones up close were scared the most,
            Afraid they’d be submerged.
They thought their friends had met their ends,
            When hotter vapors surged. 
Their hearts were flexed, expecting next,
            A ball of raging flame;
But in their grief they found relief
            When nothing ever came.[15]      
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?
The need for fear can find its cure
            In someone you can trust.
The toughest men felt safe again
            While hugging in the dust. 
A frightened man will take your hand,
            As puppies grab a bone;
But woe to those who face their throes
            Completely all alone.
CHAPTER FIFTEEN  (Righteous Anger) 
The war and strife for air and life
            Became a losing race,
For each one maimed who still remained
            Unconscious on his face.
As dark dispersed the rest rehearsed
            The horrors in their minds.
With actions bold they grabbed a hold
            Of victims left behind.
Their will unflagged these heroes dragged
            Out strangers twice their size.[16]
By giving aid they each displayed  
            The terrorists’ disguise.
For martyrdom is called by some
            The death these killers crave,
But better men than all of them
            Are those who die to save.
The morning sun was still quite young
            As news began to spread.
Reporters guessed at very best[17]
            Some thousands still were dead.
Around the world the airwaves filled
            With faces full of tears.
So many cried for those who died,
            While others shouted cheers.[18]
We looked around at zero ground
            A second time that day;
Amazed within at what had been
            Completely blown away.
Beyond this wake the world would shake
            As TV cam’ras probed.
We watched it prime in real time
            In homes around the globe.
Initial views that filled the news
            Were taken from the air.
They shocked our heads with coverage
            Of all that wasn’t there.
And later when the cam’ra men
            Could make it in on foot,
They’d film that charred, yet famous shard
            Protruding through the soot.
As anchors spoke their features broke,
            In genuine dismay.
Their voices told how young and old
            Were victims of the day.
We used to gripe because they’d hype
            Their stories without end:
But these events were so immense
            They did not need pretend.
For as they talked survivors walked,
            Like mummies from their tombs.
And horrors streamed through giant screens,
            Into our living rooms.
In office halls with cube-shaped walls
            The crowds began to lurk,
And no one cared that people stared
            Instead of doing work.
The janitor who scrubbed the floor
            Released his broom and mop.
The office clerk who never shirked
            Let all his deadlines drop.
The chubby necks of chief execs
            Could barely move an inch,
While eyes and ears on engineers
            Refused to even flinch. 
Without a word we each concurred
            In what we understood:
That this attack was aimed right at
            Our human brotherhood[19].                           
When evil’s done then ev’ry one
            Must speak for those who die:
 We all agreed this dreadful deed
            Deserved a strong reply.
We knew, of course, that things much worse,
            May happen year to year.
But this does not excuse one jot
            Of what we witnessed here.
We know that more would die in war,
            Or driving in their car;
But those who kill to prove their will
            Have clearly gone too far.
To tolerate this kind of hate
            Would be an ugly sin.
It is not wise to shut ones eyes,
            And let the bad guys win.
Of course I know it’s sensible
            To let the small things slide;
But when the crime has crossed a line,
            We dare not duck and hide.
Our land was built when blood was spilt
            To challenge what was wrong.
On diff’rent ground, we sometimes found,
            We could not get along.
We fought to save our brother slave,
            We fought to save ourselves:
We fought to cure a hemisphere,
            Where Hitler worked his spells.
We’ve always been the kind of kin
            Who’ve pointed the frauds.
Espec’lly when the guilty men
            Attacked our native sod.
We’ve come to know since long ago
            You can’t accept the claim,
That both the sides when two collide
            Are equally to blame.  
Our wish for peace should not decrease
            Our willingness to fight.
We never know which secret foe
            May have us in their sights.
We hope and pray each dawning day
            For peace at least for now;
But plan, so when, we fight again,
            We’ll still remember how.
CHAPTER SIXTEEN (The Morality of War)
When kids grow up they learn to strut
            As if they’re really smart.
They land a job that pays a gob
            And learn to play the part.
They start to speak with bits of Greek[20] 
            Or Latin in a string;
And hide their gaffes in paragraphs
            That hardly mean a thing.
The end result’s that each adult
            Is dumber than he knows.
For as his years dispel his fears           
            His confidence still grows.
He’ll build a box with heavy locks,
            To hold a languished id;
And there he’ll pitch, the lessons, which,
            He studied as a kid.
This trend explains why many brains
            Believe that war is wrong.
They start to rant and ask why can’t
            We all just get along.
They make it seem as if this dream
            Is easy to command:
Forgetting truth, that as a youth,
            They used to understand.
For when we’re young, our hearts are stung
            By evils we observe. 
We fight for hope, so we can cope,
            With guts and skill and nerve.
At times our mom will come along
            And make the kids play nice,
But come the day that she’s away
            We’re forced to pay the price!
Can you recall the toughest brawl
            You’ve ever had to wage?
Perhaps a punch you took at lunch
            From someone twice your age.
But as a kid, you quickly did,
            What you would not do now:
You kicked that jerk and grabbed his shirt,
            And slammed him on the wall.
So grownups too, must often do
            The same to stay alive:
We arm our troops to help improve
            The odds they will survive.
If we’re attacked we strike right back
            With soldiers by the ranks;
Supported by a large supply
            Of missiles, planes and tanks.
But what if we, ourselves, would be
            The instigating side?
By marching forth across the earth
            In overzealous pride?
By killing lads beside their dads
            And raping whom we choose;
Could we condemn the likes of them
            Who’d pray that we would lose?
Does God up there observe or care,
            When humans settle scores?
Does he object when lives are wrecked,
            By armies fighting wars?
For those who trust a God who’s just,
            The answer must be yes;
I do believe that He can grieve
            For ev’ry one of us.
Since God gave birth to all on Earth,
            He cares for ev’ry soul.
The strong, the weak, the bold, the meek,
            The hungry and the full.
His love’s not bound by piece of ground
            Or color of the skin;
Each human breath from life to death,
            Draws all its strength from Him.
He gave us legs to help us drag
            Ourselves around the world.
He gave us hands to plow the lands
            Where none before had tilled.
He gave us brains to build the trains
            According to a plan;
He gave us hearts so each might start
            To love his fellow man.
But God’s intent for what he sent
            Is usually refused.
We think we may decide the way
            Our bodies will be used.
For often might decides what’s right,
            And justice is not found;
And tyrants reign through fear and pain
            As if there are no bounds
They use their feet to crush the weak                                            Stanza
            Who ask when they’ll be fed.
They use their fists to break the wrists
            That reach out for their bread.
They use their smarts to blow apart
            A city’s last defense;
They use their rage to kill and cage
            In ways that don’t make sense.
These thugs are not, as some have thought,
            At all misunderstood.
They make it clear their reign of fear
            Disdains the common good.
What right have we when victims flee
            To shrug and make amends?
It’s best to stand, as God demands,
            By treaties with our friends[21].
So when you fight make sure you’re right,                 
            With ev’ry blow you take.
When quenching life in bloody strife,
            Be cautious of mistakes.
But understand the other hand
            That comes from giving in:
To offer peace with too much ease
            Can also be a sin!
CHAPTER SEVENTEEN (A Definite Conclusion)
A human brain destroyed by pain
            Will often gripe at God,
Who must have guilt because He built
            A world that’s clearly flawed.
In times of grief there’s no relief
            In other people’s bliss:
It makes the curse just that much worse
            For those who go through this.
But God above has proved his love
            By planning an escape:
To fix in full the damaged soul
            That’s scarred by Satan’s rape.            
Like firemen responding when
            They hear a victim’s voice,
So God will rush to people crushed
            By someone else’s choice.
He’s not to blame that humans maim
            Their brothers and their friends.
Or that we choose to often use
            His gifts for selfish ends.
We’ve all been born in hate and scorn,
            As captives to our sin;[22]
But God who’s fair will take good care
            Of those who let Him win.
The deeds we’ve done beneath the sun
            Are filled with hate and vice.
Where justice stands the law demands
            That someone pays the price.
The laws decree a penalty
             Your heart knows very well:
That in the end you’ll have to spend
            Eternity in hell.
Now most will fight against this plight
            By sometimes doing good.
They’ll feed the poor who find their door
            Because they know they should.
But still their souls are bursting full
            With doubts they can’t describe,
As fingers grope to find some hope 
            That God accepts their bribe.
But there’s no way these games you play
            Eliminate your crimes.
They never serve to change the curve
            You’ve set at other times.
You try to claim some noble aim
            Absolves you of your flaw; 
But this, you know, would never go
            In any court of law.
For if you were a murderer
            They’d never set you free,
Because your wealth or days of health
            Were used for charity.
The jurors there would hardly care
            How all of it was spent,
As if your dimes could pay for crimes
            And make you innocent!
So do not try the day you die
            To hand the Lord a list.
The secret stash you plan to cash
            Mostly likely won’t exist.
To pay the debt with what you get
            Is something that you can’t:
The only way to get away
            Is if you have a grant.
For God who reigns has long ordained
            That all should have a chance:[23]
Not just the one who might have done        
            Their quota in advance.                      
He died for those who once opposed
            His justice with their sin:
He leaves the door wide open for
            These losers to come in.
And so one day this wretched clay
            Received a gift from God.
His Holy Son, the sinless one,
            Came down where sinners trod.
He lived like us, He earned our trust,
            Through power and through love.
He proved that He was Deity,
            But acted like a dove.
Despite His name our Maker came
            To take on flesh and die.
He set aside his rightful pride
            For those who kill and lie.
We did not wait or hesitate
            To heap on our abuse:
Enraged at heart we all took part
            As pagans or as Jews[24].
But Jesus’ ears ignored our cheers
            That night we were his foes.
He looked for friends, but not revenge,
            The morning when He rose.
Instead of strife he gave out life
            To those he could destroy,
Our new belief transformed our grief
            Abruptly into joy.
But then you shout: “Oh what about,
            The ones who’ve never heard?
Will God condemn the lot of them
            Without a single word?”
Your lips declare that God’s not fair
            To those who have no clue,
But this excuse has zero use
            For all the rest like you!
For now you know the way to go
            When sins begin to haunt.
If love and cheer devoid of fear
            Is really what you want.           
But if you wait or vacillate
            Be wary of the cause:
When lust and pride make you decide
            You want to keep your flaws.



[1] Reference:  Harnden, Toby. “Seedy secrets of hijackers who broke Muslim laws.” 06 Oct 2001,

[2]Line quoted from movie: United 93. Dir. Paul Greengrass. Universal Pictures. 2006.

[3] Reference:  United States. National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States. The 9/11 Commission Report. New York: W.W. Norton & Company: 13.

[4] Reference:  United States. National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States. The 9/11 Commission Report. New York: W.W. Norton & Company: 12.

[5] A firefighter with sixty pounds of gear takes a minute to climb one flight of stairs. Reference: 9/11 film taken by Jules Naudet and Gideon Naudet. Goldfish Pictures and Silverstar Productions. 2002.

[6] Reference:  United States. National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States. The 9/11 Commission Report. New York: W.W. Norton & Company: 294.

[7] The Bible often groups the saints in multiples of twelve in heaven. See Revelation 5:8.

[8] God has chosen to give his revelation primarily to Jewish prophets. However, these Jewish writers came from a variety of diverse cultural roots. The written word of God spans 1400 years and was written in three different languages. Also, some of God’s prophets, like Enoch, Melchizzidek, and Job were gentiles.  The amazing thing about the Bible is that it is in complete agreement with itself despite the fact that it was written by such a diverse group of people.

[9] My point is that some areas of scientific inquiry (such as cosmology) require a lot of speculation since physical limitations such as time, distance, and size keep us from obtaining all of the data which we would like to collect.  Scientists are taught, correctly, not to accept as true anything that cannot be proven or disproven.  However, scientists are only human, and as such they are tempted to conclude as much as possible from what little evidence is available when dealing with the distant past, or with objects that are far away.  Although there is nothing wrong with speculation, human nature makes it difficult for discoverers to admit it when their hypothesis are based mainly on guess work and not provable fact.

[10] I am referring to the 100 years preceding the 9-11 attacks, not the writing of this poem. This should be taken as a reference to the 20th century, the century of modernism, postmodernism, fascism, and communism.

[11] T.S. Eliot.

[12] Reference: Eliot, T.S. The Wasteland. 1922. 237-252

[13] Reference:  United States. National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States. The 9/11 Commission Report. New York: W.W. Norton & Company: 307-308.

[14] One of the firefighters described the scene as “a lunar landscape.” Reference: 9/11 film taken by Jules Naudet and Gideon Naudet. Goldfish Pictures and Silverstar Productions. 2002.

[15] Based on account by a surviving firefighter. Reference: 9/11 film taken by Jules Naudet and Gideon Naudet. Goldfish Pictures and Silverstar Productions. 2002.

[16] One of the Naudet Brothers helped someone walk a larger, partially unconscious man away from the scene. Reference: 9/11 film taken by Jules Naudet and Gideon Naudet. Goldfish Pictures and Silverstar Productions. 2002.

[17] The “best” or most conservative estimates at the time were that only a few thousand had died, which eventually turned out to be true (barely under three thousand). In those first few hours some people were speculating that as many as ten to twenty thousand might be dead.

[18] Within hours of the attacks video footage of cheering Palestinians was broadcast by prominent news sources such as CNN and Fox.

[19] Most political and religious leaders immediately condemned the attacks as immoral. This included many leaders of Islamic countries and religious organizations.

[20] Most polysyllabic words in the English language have Latin or Greek roots. People who see themselves as sophisticated intellectuals love to use these words frequently, frowning on the “lowly” monosyllabic words of German origin that common people use. However, the Germanic words are usually less vague and should be the words that we generally use to communicate.  Greek and Latin based words should be mostly reserved for technical uses such as that by scientists and medical doctors.

[21] Joshua chapters 9-10.

[22] The Bible teaches that God is not responsible for creating our sin nature. It was the result of a choice of our ancestors, Adam and Eve (Genisis 3). Some will claim that it’s not fair that we are victims of their decision. However, God is both just and merciful, which is why He offers a way of escape to everyone who will accept it (Romans 5:18). Therefore, anyone who has heard and rejected God’s generous offer of forgiveness will suffer the full consequences of their sins after death because they would rather continue to satisfy their selfish desires than surrender their lives to the control of God.

[23] 2 Peter 3:9  “The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.”

[24] The guilt for the crucifixion lies with all humans dead and alive including the author of this poem and anyone who reads it. It does not, as some have falsely claimed, rest only on the shoulders of the Jews (who are God’s chosen people).  Guilt is not based on being physically present.  It is based on the fact that as sinners we all naturally struggle against and hate the One who died for us, regardless of our cultural or religious background.


4 Responses to “Read the Poem Here”

  1. 1 Karen Pickering July 29, 2010 at 4:42 am

    I just finished reading your “epic poem”. It was very long, but what could be left out? Each part made the whole better. Keep writing.

  2. 2 9/11 epic poet July 29, 2010 at 1:46 pm

    Thanks! Believe it or not, I was originally expecting to make it longer, but I cut back some.

  3. 3 brosephine August 31, 2011 at 10:34 pm

    I want to see a video of you reading it

  4. 4 Daniel Schilling September 1, 2011 at 12:11 am

    I’ve thought of that, but never got around to it. Partly because I have a speech impediment, mostly because I’m lazy. I don’t have any good excuses anymore now that I own a computer with an inbuilt webcam.
    Maybe I’ll do it in the next couple days.

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