Twenty years . . . So long ago as that?
When fantasy became reality
And falling human bodies turned to splat.
Death in living color on TV.

Maxwell’s silver hammer coming down
On our collective metaphoric head;
Manhattan’s shredded, bloodied wedding gown,
Pentagon’s and Shanksville’s mangled dead.

Terror’s Krakatoa blasting smoke
That moments earlier had been a wife,
A son, three thousand ordinary folk . . .
Evil’s theft of innocence and life.

Hell fell to earth and heaven nearly died
When blasphemy attempted deicide.



James A. Tweedie is a retired pastor living in Long Beach, Washington. He has written and published six novels, one collection of short stories, and three collections of poetry including Mostly Sonnets, all with Dunecrest Press. His poems have been published nationally and internationally in The Lyric, Poetry Salzburg (Austria) Review, California Quarterly, Asses of Parnassus, Lighten Up Online, Better than Starbucks, WestWard Quarterly, Society of Classical Poets, and The Chained Muse.

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6 Responses

  1. Cynthia Erlandson

    If horror can be beautifully expressed, you’ve done it, James. And the couplet is profound.

  2. Paul Freeman

    My most haunting image is those trapped above the fire, leaning out for air and to escape the heat, who ended up with the airman’s choice in a burning plane – jump or burn.

    Thanks for the read, James. I imagine this was was a difficult poem to write.

    • James A. Tweedie

      Paul and Cynthia,

      Your memories, like mine are as vivid as they were when they unfolded before our eyes in real time. This morning I simply recalled that day and the poem wrote itself. I plead with everyone to keep images like your as vivid as possible. Too man want to censor such unsettling, un-nerving, and disturbing scenes. Personally, I think they should be publicly displayed on massive advertising billboards—lest we forget. If anyone says the images offend them, I will reply, “Good. I’m glad. That’s the point. May they offend you forever.”

  3. Susan Jarvis Bryant

    James, your poem portrays some hauntingly horrific images… ones we should never forget. I know just how difficult it is to portray in poetry such a heart-rending moment in history – you have managed to do just that. Thank you.


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