Friday, September 23, 2011

Jo-Ann Iannotti, OP, reads her poem composed for 9/11 Observance at Wisdom House.

Jo-Ann Iannotti, OP, reciting September 11th remembrance poem


In the city Walt Whitman called,

 “City of hurried and sparkling waters!

      City of spires and masts!

City nestled in bays! My city!”

        They were born twins,

  And unexpectedly died together.

      Untimely many would say.

On that land, one of the first original 13,

     called  “Keystone” even until this day,

A field made to be ploughed

    Had the unfulfilled hopes

                 of 58 souls

           Planted in its soil.

Then, there was the place

    Defined and designed by geometry;

A place whose angles held

     Secrets supposedly


Secure was that day

    In September,

Sun-filled, mild-mannered

        In its dawning.

Before mid-morning

     Day became nightmare,

Chaos reigned supreme

   And dust was a veil

That hung over the face of the City.

That day, more than names

    were listed as lost.

That day, futures were frozen in time.

    Nothing could move forward.

That day belief was a sign,

   Hung around our necks

With the simple message –

      “For Sale.”

Bent steel bent lives

   Into new shapes.

We were placed into a furnace

   Of transformation.

We were too surprised to make

    a rational decision.

We were never given the chance to choose.

Ten years on, though,

       we can choose.

We cannot change the past,

     But we must change

                          the present.

We can choose not to be among

   The living dead.

We can choose not to run away

   From pain.

We can choose to sit down with it

            For afternoon tea

   To share the stories that make us who we are.

  True stories change lives

   When they are given away.

Friends, let us walk through

    The remainder of the

              Days given to us,

Not side-stepping pain or

    Underestimating the

             The presence of joy.

What we know, can’t be taken from us –

  We now know more deeply than ever,


All the world – all of life

              Is kindling for revelation.

Friends, stack it high,

   Build it well,

And let us start a new fire

   For clarity, for gratitude,

      For life!

                                                Jo-Ann Iannotti, OP

                                                     September 11, 2011