Photo from September 11, 2001Poetry for the 20th Anniversary of 9/11 Terrorist Attacks, by Susan Jarvis Bryant The Society September 11, 2021 Culture, Poetry, Rondeau, Terrorism 24 Comments . Heroes Where are they now—the bold who brave The choke of smoke to ways that pave The path to breath beneath wide skies? Where are the ears that hear the cries Of souls they fight death’s bite to save? Through 9/11’s hellish wave Of terror, angels fought and gave Their everything; their love, their lives. __Where are they now? Two decades back, we wouldn’t cave To Satan. Now he has a slave— The Whitehouse Wimp with hollow eyes. Afghanistan needs hands not lies; Hands that spare the good the grave. __Where are they now? . . Forsaken 20 years after 9/11 Today the selfless in the USA Wring their hands and hang their heads in shame, As tyrants trample hope and turn away From howls for help while true hearts bear the blame. Despair and horror flare in frightened eyes On TV screens that blare with fork-tongued tales From mouths that drown out startled cries with lies, And peddle precious justice, minus scales. We witness arsenals left for evil’s reign: Bullets, bombs, grenades, and guns galore— Scenes mocking countless souls who fell in vain In sly and shocking scams once sold as war… The War on Terror—the fight we couldn’t lose, Till turncoat chiefs danced in the devil’s shoes. . . Susan Jarvis Bryant is from Kent, England. She is now an American citizen living on the coastal plains of Texas. Susan has poetry published in the UK webzine, Lighten Up On Line, The Daily Mail, and Openings (anthologies of poems by Open University Poets). NOTE TO READERS: If you enjoyed this poem or other content, please consider making a donation to the Society of Classical Poets. 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CODEC News:Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pinterest (Opens in new window) 24 Responses Peter Hartley September 11, 2021 Susan – two of the most heartfelt poems I have ever read. I feel too choked inside to write any more than that. Thank you. Reply Susan Jarvis Bryant September 11, 2021 Peter, thank you for reading and for commenting. I will admit these were two tough poems to write. They took me far longer than I usually take. The subject is a sensitive one – even more so twenty years on with the sad world we’re living in today in mind. It’s always a pleasure to have your take on my work. Thanks again! Reply Mike Bryant September 11, 2021 Susan and I watched a documentary called, ‘9/11: One Day in America’ that is streaming on Hulu. It’s a well-made and compelling look at the events of that day. Unexpectedly, the series made both of us appreciate the basic goodness of people. Most people are wonderful and caring. We are poorly led. Reply Damian Robin September 11, 2021 Though I haven’t seen the film, appreciating the basic goodness of people is a must. “Most people are wonderful and caring.” Yes. Reply Joe Tessitore September 11, 2021 Well-done, Susan, on what can only be described as a very dark day for our country, and a celebration for the Democrat power structure, as witnessed by those in attendance at the Memorial. We are poorly led, indeed, Mike, if in fact we are led at all. “Misled” is far more accurate. Reply Susan Jarvis Bryant September 11, 2021 Thank you, Joe. I think America is crestfallen at the moment… for very good reason. Reply Russel Winick September 11, 2021 Thanks for these, Susan. Dancing in the devil’s shoes – yep, that nails it. Reply Susan Jarvis Bryant September 11, 2021 Thank you, Russel. What a wicked world we’re living in. That certainly doesn’t detract from those whose hearts are true… it would appear that those who genuinely care rarely rise to positions powerful enough to make a difference. Reply Damian Robin September 11, 2021 Thank you Susan for your dignified, straight-forward, and deep-feeling poems. Caving in to Satan who now “has a slave— The Whitehouse Wimp with hollow eyes.” And “The War on Terror—the fight we couldn’t lose, Till turncoat chiefs danced in the devil’s shoes.” round off some great sentiments and wonderful word textures. Reply Susan Jarvis Bryant September 11, 2021 Thank you very much, Damian. I appreciate your comment. I am often inspired by your eye-opening poetry on the atrocities of the world today. Reply Brian Yapko September 11, 2021 Susan, on this gravely sad day I am grateful to wake up to your two very fine poems – a rondeau and a sonnet – both heartfelt yet economical and judicious in their use of language. Neither of them withhold any punches in getting right to the heart of so much of what is wrong with our country and the deep shame that is our reprehensible treatment of our Afghan allies. My favorite of the two is “Heroes” because, as you so eloquently state, we should never forget those angels “who fought and gave their everything” to save others. The “caving to Satan” and his acquisition of his new, powerful “slave” is a great combination of rhyme and imagery — especially since “cave” as a verb is so strongly suggestive of the noun as well (as in the “Inferno.”) As for “Forsaken” – damn, but it’s scathing! I wish I could say I enjoy it, but the subject mater is too upsetting. I will, however, say that I both respect and admire it. You grab me by the collar and make my eyes bulge with lines like “peddle precious justice, minus scales” and the “turncoat chiefs [who] danced in the devil’s shoes.” Well done. I’m glad we have your poetic voice to document the issues of our day — and this solemn day in particular. Reply Susan Jarvis Bryant September 11, 2021 Brian, I always appreciate your astute comments and this one really hits home with me. Originally, I wrote only the rondeau with its repeating line: “Where are they now?”… and then thought to myself, they haven’t gone… there are angels among us who would save us, given the chance. That’s why I wrote an additional poem. I wanted to point out that the Biden administration in no way represents the majority of kind-hearted and caring souls in America. I am certain the majority of Americans are appalled by the decisions made concerning Afghanistan. That’s exactly why the sonnet is so scathing… to my mind there is no excuse for the wicked and treacherous decisions made. It pleases me to know my words have been effective in getting an important point across. Reply Paul W Erlandson September 11, 2021 I love it all, but the last two lines of “Forsaken” were perhaps the most powerful for me. Lines I wish did not have to be written. Reply Susan Jarvis Bryant September 11, 2021 I’m with you, Paul. I wish those lines didn’t have to be written… but, they were begging to. The powers that be need to be called out, big time. I’m glad you like the poems and thank you for your comment. Reply Cynthia Erlandson September 11, 2021 Exquisitely written and emotionally moving. Thank you so much for helping us to observe this sorrowfully important day. Reply Susan Jarvis Bryant September 11, 2021 Thank you very much, Cynthia. These poems were tough to write, but I simply had to do it. Your support means a lot. Reply Margaret Coats September 11, 2021 Susan, as others have commented trenchantly on the emotion of these poems, I will say that both show your outstanding skill in the use of fair forms. The three portions of the rondeau work together splendidly, with the refrain offering unique perspective each time it appears. The sonnet does what classic English sonnet form can do, but often does not–that is, it accumulates significance in three distinct quatrains and saves the turn to move into a powerful couplet. And I imagine you took time and trouble to make sure your characteristic verbal artistry reads smoothly. You have outdone your last year’s more confident rondeau for the occasion, with two that are clearly marked in theme and allusion to this particular moment in history. Reply Susan Jarvis Bryant September 11, 2021 Margaret, I thoroughly appreciate your perspicacious comment and your fine eye. You are right when you say I “took time and trouble to make sure your characteristic verbal artistry reads smoothly” – these poems took me far longer than usual. The subject matter got to me. There’s a fine line between sensitivity and sensationalism when it comes to tragedies of this magnitude, and I wanted to get it just right while still making a pertinent and poignant point. As a relatively new citizen, I worried when these poems went out today… I am thrilled and relieved at the responses I’ve had. Margaret, thank you very much for yours. Reply Paul Freeman September 11, 2021 After the 11th of September, 2001, the United States of America was never more united. Today, I don’t think it’s ever been more divided. Two powerfully composed poems. Thank you for the reads. Reply Susan Jarvis Bryant September 11, 2021 Sadly, divisions are worldwide, not just here in America. The divisions are between the people and their overbearing governments. Look at France, Australia, the UK, Germany etc. etc. After the Twin Towers fell, the Patriot Act was introduced, giving the American government carte blanche to spy on its citizens… no wonder everyone’s divided… who on earth are we the people of this wicked world to trust? Thank you very much for your comment. Reply Jeff Eardley September 11, 2021 Susan, two extraordinary poems that speak for us all on this day of reflection. On the Last Night of the Proms tonight, Barber’s Adagio featured. I remember it was part of the programme 20 years ago and I was moved to tears again tonight, as I was then. Powerful words from you, as ever. Thank you. Reply Susan Jarvis Bryant September 12, 2021 Jeff, thank you very much for your comment. Your mention Last Night at the Proms sent me straight to YouTube to listen to Barber’s Adagio… how heart-touchingly beautiful. With much appreciation. Reply David Watt September 12, 2021 Susan, your two excellent poems are right on point as usual. I particularly like your line “The Whitehouse wimp with hollow eyes”. The eyes really are windows to what lays behind. Reply Susan Jarvis Bryant September 12, 2021 Thank you, David. The line you mention was the best description I could come up with for the sorry figure in The Whitehouse… if only he had a conscience and a backbone… things would be so different. But then, he wouldn’t be laying the foundations of the frightful future the overlords have in store for us… one can but dream. Reply Leave a Reply to Paul W Erlandson Cancel ReplyYour email address will not be published.CommentName* Email* Website Notify me of follow-up comments by email. Notify me of new posts by email. Δ This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.