Friday, September 11, 2009

We Will Never Forget

I read this on my friend Daryl's blog, Out and About in New York City, on the M104 this morning. I found this incredibly moving and I wanted to share it with you.
When I asked Daryl if I could reproduce it here, just as she did, she said, "absolutely".
Please visit her blog here where she also has a photo of the Twin Towers.
Thank you Daryl.

From the 104th Floor
by Leda Rodis (age 14 in 2001)

When the plane hit the building
rocked first
to the right
to the left,
and outside all the skyscrapers
of New York
seemed to tremble.

The alarms screamed louder
than we did, and I knew
it was time to get away. It's funny
what you notice:
a pen rolling across the floor
my screen saver flicker and go off
a picture of you
and me
at Coney Island.

So much to leave behind. And yet so little.

Running down the hall I remembered
my mother
taking me to the top
of the Empire
State Building when I was just
a little girl,
telling me that a plane
had crashed there a long
time ago. So I thought that maybe
what happened. Just
an accident. And accidents
happen everyday.

Under the blown-out exit sign
a crowd
is screaming,
on the door.
I know:


You have to believe that I tried. I'm not the one
to give up.
Back at my desk, I rescue
the rolling pen,
at the blank screen, and
my picture
of you.
I look out
at the blue morning.
I expect
to see God there.
But what I really see is
another plane.
And I know what it means.
But I don't know why...

I always thought that life was full of choices.
It always has been.
What to wear
Where to eat
Who to love
(and you know who I chose).

Now my choices have been taken away from me.
The men in the planes have narrowed my choices
Death by fire, or death by fall.

I see the smoke
filling the room
It's hard to breathe

I look towards the open window.
would falling feel like?

I remember the roller coaster at Coney Island.

The wind tugging at my hair
How good it felt to scream.
The feeling in my stomach.

And how all the way down

I was with you.

many of you have asked who Leda Rodis is ...

ON SEPTEMBER 11, 2001, 14-year-old Leda Rodis was in her high school library in Vermont, researching a freshman English assignment, when the announcement came over the loudspeaker: airplanes had been flown into both towers of the World Trade Center in New York. Like people everywhere that day, Leda watched the unreal images on television as the mammoth structures burned, then collapsed, killing thousands. The image that stuck with Leda most was that of two very brave people jumping from the towers, holding hands. Rather than die in the fire the terrorists had created, they chose to jump. And they chose to do it together.

More than any other event in history, images from 9/11 are forever seared onto humanity’s collective consciousness. Every person has tried in some way to come to terms with that day. Leda decided to write a poem. “From the 104th Floor” flowed through her as if a voice had come up out of the rubble. Though it memorializes the events and feelings of that day, “From the 104th Floor” is in the end a love poem. An inspiration. Love is bigger than terror.

Leda’s mother shared the poem with a friend in Brooklyn, Serguei Bassine, a young filmmaker. The poem’s images dug so deeply into him that in the weeks following 9/11 he would stand up and recite it on his subway commute from Brooklyn into Manhattan. Each time he read he saw horror turn to grief and then to hope in the eyes of his rapt listeners. For a long time he wrestled with how to bring the poem’s images to film without violating the integrity of the poem, or the enormity of the experiences of the people who were lost. In the end he made a short film usingblack-and-white animation as a way of honoring both the writer’s vision and the courage of the people who perished.


Daryl said...

Thank you Lily for posting this .. its touching and something everyone should read xo

Anonymous said...

Phenomenal - truly


PERBS said...

Yes, tears are flowing from my eyes as I write this. . . thanks for sharing that beautiful poem. It's a keeper!

God bless America!

Ian France said...

That's amazing that a fourteen year old girl was able to write with such power and feeling as if she was actually there after only seeing the images of those two people jump out of the building.

Bigger than words.

Barb said...

Such a wonderful tribute! Thank you for posting the poem. The pain and loss of September 11 will always stay in our consciousness.

The Cunning Runt said...

What a beautiful poem to have come from one so young, and how terrible that she should have to have any understanding of these things.

This is a wound which will never heal, not until we learn its lesson: that countless people the world over suffer and die at the hands of their brothers a sisters for reasons which defy logic and dishonor us all.

I cried my way through writing about it last night, as though it had happened last week.

MmeBenaut said...

So powerful Lily, and so beautiful. And terribly, awfully, sad. Bravo to Leda.

Carin said...

WOW very touching. It gave me goosepimples and made me feel so very cold and sad!