“9-11”, A Memorial Poem.


"Eagle" Jane Kohut-Bartels, watercolor, 2005

Watercolor, Jane Kohut-Bartels, 2009

“This world of dew

is a world of dew,

and yet, and yet…”

—–Kobayashi Issa (1763-1828)




That beautiful morning,

A teasing taste of early Autumn-

The unthinkable happened

And our world stopped turning.

I saw the plane, I saw the fire

I saw the smoke descend like

A blanket of blinding grief

Too late to spare those on the ground

The sight of Armageddon.



Mortar-grey people transformed

Into gritty moving statues,

Holding hands, blinded by smoke,

Move down streets where

Paper, bricks, metal, glass rained down

Like the Devil’s Ticket Parade,

Walked in silence towards the bridges,

Barely a moan I am told,

An Exodus unexpected on this

Morning of such seasonal promise.


I saw worse.

I saw people jump

From the ledges, holding hands,

Some with briefcases

And all I could do

Was howl:


“I will catch you!

Jump into my arms

I will not drop you.

Do not be afraid,

Aim for my embracing arms,

With the last of my life—

I will catch you.”


That day of fire and ash,

Inexplicable funeral pyre,

Of brave souls rushing in

And frightened souls rushing out

And the ash, the ash, the ash,

Covered everything like a silent September snow.


Eleven years later

Grieving when this day approaches,

I hear the words well up in me:


“We will catch you!

Jump into our arms,

We will not drop you.

You will not be forgotten,

With the last of our breath–

We will catch you.”


Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2011-2013 

This poem dedicated to my 100 year old Aunt Jean, the Light of my Life.


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30 Responses to ““9-11”, A Memorial Poem.”

  1. Nick Nicholson Says:

    I remember this poem. Still so very poignant.


  2. ladynyo Says:

    Hi Nick. Yes, this poem will be posted every 9-11 memorial here. It’s a day of mourning and remembering for Americans, and for many around the world who have faced some of the same terrorism.

    Unfortunately, some of your countrymen (women) and some Canadians have thrown contempt upon our 9-11 event: one very stupid Canadian saying that ‘this was deserved’ for the behavior of the US. That 3000 people killed on that day didn’t go far enough to settle the score. And some Australians saying about the same.

    I hope that both countries never suffer what we did from terrorists. But if they do, you can be assured that we here in the States will throw our sympathy there. To live through all of this, and it was weeks, months before we could really fathom what had happened, well, it changed us. And much of our lives. We live now, knowing that this can happen again so easily. The roots of terrorism are based in these countries where young men have no jobs, no future because of the corruption of their own governments, and religion is something that this corruption hides behind and inflames this hopelessness.

    Thank you, Nick. Thank you for reading, your comment, but most of all, your understanding. See you soon!



  3. Caliban's Sister Says:

    Such a moving poem. so powerful. That day was the most unbelievable of my lifetime. I remember literally not believing my eyes when I saw the news. It did not compute. love CS


  4. ladynyo Says:

    Hi Sweetie! Glad you’re back! I left something at your blog…

    yes, People don’t understand how it changed our lives. My hometown (Princeton) lost over 60 people that day, some we knew. I remember seeing the second plane crash into the tower and we watched it with disbelief. It seemed unreal, like a movie.

    That day and the weeks after changed many of us forever. Some people don’t understand, but I think that these are in a minority. (See my comment to Nick). It drew us closer as a nation and it should.

    Thank you, CS, for reading and your comment. It was hard to write that poem, there was just too much in memory to do so, but it was something that couldn’t be ignored.

    Love, Jane


  5. Björn Rudberg (brudberg) Says:

    Great poem… it’s this day … a day of so much bad things… and it has changed our world forever.. I still remember that as a day when things changed…


  6. ihatepoetry Says:

    This is quite good – you captured so many things I wanted to, and failed… Silent September snow – that is the perfect description. Very good writing.


  7. brian miller Says:

    it is hard for me to fathom and think back on that day…i was flying, enroute to florida and put down in atlanta…they cut the tvs and the phones were jammed so we only caught snippets of what was happening…seeing the jumpers…ugh….i watched a documentary shot from inside during it all recently…it rocked me…

    good to see you. smiles.


  8. ladynyo Says:

    I saw the second plane as it was happening. It was unreal. It has changed our nation and people, I hope…forever.

    Good to see you, too, Brian.



  9. ladynyo Says:

    Thank you. It was so emotional sitting there, and then the weeks after. I couldn’t move. I had a friend, a childhood friend, that walked out of NYC, through the tunnels to the Jersey turnpike….for 12 hours I think, and everyone was silent and covered with ash. That was the beginning of the poem for me.

    Thank you for reading and your comment. Nice to see new people reading.

    Lady Nyo


  10. ladynyo Says:

    Yes, I agree, it has changed our world forever.

    Thank you for reading and your comment.

    Lady Nyo


  11. Nick Nicholson Says:

    Like all countries, we have a few idiots here that embarrass the rest of us. And anyone saying that the US “deserved” 9/11 is an idiot of the first order.


  12. ladynyo Says:

    Well, not only an idiot, but someone who, claiming liberalism, internationalsm, is heartless to boot. I wish this on no one, Nick. We saw the second plane crash into the tower, and we saw, was rivetted to the tv for weeks. I remember being in something like a fugue state. I couldn’t function. I could only watch and piece together 11 smallish quilts. Somewhere in the heartland, there was a bunch of women from different churches that met in the basement of one church and put out a call for people to make quilts to send to the survivors first responders. I remember watching tv into the early hours of the morning, my hands piecing the quilts together, and within a few weeks, had enough to send and also to send to elderly relatives. It was the only way I could occupy myself and my mind. It was unreal what we were seeing. It was Hell in all it’s ‘gory’.

    Thank you, dearest of friends.

    Love, Jane


  13. Laura Hegfield Says:

    so beautifully and lovingly expressed Jane… we will never forget.


  14. ladynyo Says:

    Thank you, Laura….good to see you!



  15. Alex Dissing Says:

    9/11 was three days before my 11th birthday. I remember not even wanting to celebrate my birthday, felt like I would be selfish to celebrate such a thing. That day changed everything, for everyone, forever. Such a touching tribute. Brought tears to my eyes.


  16. ladynyo Says:

    Alex, you were about the age of my only child, my son now serving in the Navy.

    I understand your feelings at 11. It did change our lives forever…and what bothers me are people who are so hard hearted about what happened that day. I’m not talking about Muslim extremests….I’m talking about people from nations who have not felt the hand of terrorism. Yet.

    As a dear friend from Australia said: “Idiots”.

    This event changed us forever. I keep hearing that , and yes, it did. But as time goes on, we get a bit more distant from those heavy moments of chaos, pathos and terror. I wish it wouldn’t happen again, but the odds of it not are not good.

    Bless you, Alex, for your sentiments at 11. I’ll be over to your blog tomorrow.

    And thank you, Alex.

    Lady Nyo


  17. johnallenrichter Says:

    We should never forget. I remember watching those small flecks, flinging themselves from high, on a flight that took way too incredibly long to end….. The shock was so pervasive. I remember no thoughts. I sat motionless watching that mayhem, unable to even form a thought. And then a few moments, and thoughts of wives, husbands, brothers, sister, children began to emerge….. and then, tears, acceptance. I’m still kind of stuck in that phase a little…. We should never forget. Thank you Lady Nyo…


  18. ladynyo Says:

    Thank YOU, John. I am also stuck. I think that is exactly the sentiment I have, and thank you for mirroring it. We can never forget and if we did, what would that say about us?

    I think it is very hard for people NOT Americans to understand that day…and the days after. At least these nations who haven’t felt such a terrorist attack. I know the Brits understand, but so many don’t.

    yes, tears….they went on for days…it was shock until I couldn’t cry any more. I do remember going to Kroger (grocery store here) and seeing military guys in the store and stopping to talk to them. They were buying water, basics, and so many others were just buying junk food….life as ‘normal’. I remember feeling so displaced, strange, like the other shoe was going to drop….but when? when?

    Well, I don’t know what was worse: the people flinging themselves off the ledges or the ash covered statues slowly walking in exodus. Something we have not seen before, or at least most of us.

    A nightmare that didn’t seem to end.

    bless you, John.



  19. Caliban's Sister Says:

    Jane, I wish you’d send this poem to the White House. Silent September Snow, gray walkers,ash hats, on a day that moments earlier had been crystal clear brilliant and sunny. love CS


  20. ladynyo Says:

    Hi CS….that is a lovely thought, but it probably wouldn’t be even registered there. However, a number of people who read this last year (when I wrote it…) thought I should send it to NPR to be read there.

    I don’t know…I do know that this day is burned into the minds of so many of us….and each have our own story to tell. I think we all have some common ground connecting our stories, certainly that. But the ‘event’ goes so deep, it’s something we will never complete in the full extent of it.

    First, what happened, then the contemplation of where and what we were doing as it happened, and then the aftermath. And how it has changed our nation.

    I wrote “9-11” in a few minutes. It was raw emotion and I don’t recommend this for poets to do. Usually there is a lot more to forming our poetry, but then again, something like this strikes at the very foundation of our psyches. It’s really a very simple poem, and toying with it I thought would just muddle it. Dilute the power of our memories and words. The power of this poem is within our collective memories I think, not just my words. And perhaps that is why people have taken to it: it sums up their own ‘you were there’ memories.

    Thank you, CS…for your reading and your comments. They are so much appreciated here.



  21. Ken Higginson Says:

    Good tribute for the day. The United States Senate has declaired this an official day of Service. You’ve done your part for writing this. Thank you


  22. ladynyo Says:

    Hi Ken, that is so kind of you. It is a sad and memorable day. I think all of us have been changed by events. At least I hope so.

    Thank you, again.

    Lady Nyo (Jane)


  23. Gay Reiser Cannon Says:

    What a beautiful and descriptive memorial dear Jane. I hope you are well. It’s good to be reading you again. Getting back to writing myself after my six month sabbatical. Finally moved into the old house – with its creakings, and breaking appliances but it’s all good. That was quite a time for me. My trip to see the colors along the East Coast was planned leaving by rent car on the 12th – to be gone for a month going as far as Nova Scotia and returning through New England to fly out of Boston. We went against the protestations of our family.It was unbelievably memorable. What a time to see America! Be well my friend. I’m sending good and peaceful thoughts to you.


  24. ladynyo Says:

    Hello Dear Gay!

    It’s so good to hear from you. Your trip sounds absolutely lovely. From one who was from family in New England, I can only understand your excitement during the trip and the season! And being back in your old house! Wonderful. Living myself in a 1880’s house with all the issues, well, it’s home. Hopefully forever.

    I’ve been deep into research and study on Shintoism. All spring and summer. I have been drawn towards this for years, and finally decided to do it. Also, have been reading Freya Stark’s books: what a woman of the earlier 20th century and what an adventurer. I think about you when I read her for a number of reasons….her courage, her compassion, and her fruitful writings.

    Frankly, I have also cloistered myself: I’ve pulled away from poetry for a number of reasons. One, the groups were exhausting…you know the drill. It was exhausting and fruitless. I needed desperately to do more study and more formal exploration on poetry criticism. Two, I seem to need the briskness of Autumn to write anything poetic. right now I have Meow Mix in my brain.

    Nick Nicholson from Canberra, Australia, an old friend and a marvelous writer and photog, is coming here to stay with us in Atlanta at the end of October. He is doing all the graphics for the new book: “The Nightingale’s Song”…that 12 episode story. I am excited because he is a great second eye on these things, and this is the first time in 7 years that we will meet in person. he will take it back, the MS and it will be published out of Australia.

    Well, great hearing from you. I have missed you very much.

    Jane…sending back peaceful thoughts to you!


  25. Gay Reiser Cannon Says:

    Wonderful to hear all this. I hope to do something similar soon. Congratulations on the book and the research. It won’t be so long before I write you again.


  26. ladynyo Says:

    Gay, Godspeed on your own project. People who have never done a book have little idea the amount of pure energy and the troubles within. LOL! I know you do.

    I always love to hear from you, dear friend. It’s wonderful that we have kept in touch, and I relish hearing more of what you are up to.



  27. ayala Says:

    A moving poem, we will never be the same.


  28. ladynyo Says:

    Hello Sweetheart!

    So good to read you! No, we will never be the same…and perhaps that is good.



  29. TR Says:

    Beautiful and moving poem. I can remember being in awe and not really understanding it all. It took a while to come to terms with the gravity of what really happened. xxoo TR


  30. ladynyo Says:

    You are so right, TR. I am still coming to terms with what happened. I don’t think any of us will really grasp the full extent of that day….and what is happening today, either.

    Lady Nyo


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