September 2007

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News and Opinion

Now, From This Place

-- Charles Davidson

this land
this people
this nation

removed from Europe’s age-old feuds
bounded by the Atlantic’s surges
and the Pacific’s foam-toppped rollers
we are enclosed by nature’s boundaries
safely insulated with
water lapping at our shores
and held in their embrace

this land apart
this people unafraid
this nation unique
our America

open to heavens blue and black
to fleecy wisps
gathering in flocks
that float above the continent

peaks and plains stretch out below
and ranges in their upward thrust
impatient at creation’s limits
stopped by lava’s definition
passing below the clouds
the verdant green and patchwork fields
in rainbow-like procession
purple canyons and dotted slopes
of growing things
turned toward the horizon

we rested here secure
untrammeled by alien boots
distant and apart
from history’s hurtful episodes
of anger, disappointment and abuse

a land
a people
a nation
in mourning

because here
at this place
arrived a fearful symmetry
on wings of hate so palpable
the heavens screamed and opened
staining it and us
with issue never to be replaced
and we
are no longer separate
are no longer isolate
by a world’s discontent

unreasoned and violent anger
came to this place
where it probed, touched and wrenched us apart
from those we loved
who now
are ephemeral
as mists of clouds which touched the tips of twin spires that
stood here
whose height assured a place
perhaps this never was a site remote from danger’s thrust
perhaps we’ve found a truth
seldom visited before
that there is no regard for life
the most precious gift
to those who find no value in this world

buttressed by trust and self-illusion
our precious gifts displayed
by evil incarnate
they seized our memories
propelling them into orbs of light
lights that signal
calling us to remembrances of life
as we watch them from below

now, let us embrace and clasp
the hands of wives and husbands
children, friends and strangers never met
drawing their remembrances close
to feel their spirit and vitality
seeking courage from their lives untimely ended
as now we grasp each other
asking that their lives were
not an offering vainly made

now, from this place we ask
for vigilance and for a promise
and raise our eyes to a band of deepest blue
looking for that brightest light
illuminating the souls we lost
on a day that never will be forgotten

by this land
by this people
by this nation
our America

from this place
we remember

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