Ground Control Parenting – Carol Sutton Lewis

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Ages 13-15

Thoughtful Thursday: Never Forget

Sixteen years ago we watched in horror as terrorists took the Twin Towers down, damaged the Pentagon and killed innocent people on American soil. We honor the memories of the fallen every 9/11 with prayers for their families and for our country, with monuments, with moments of silence. We remember.

Noted poet Lucille Clifton (1936-2010) wrote “September’s Song, A Poem in Seven Days” about the week that began on September 11. 2001. Clifton served as the state of Maryland’s poet laureate from 1974 until 1985, and won numerous awards including the prestigious National Book Award for her poetry collections. While the “Tuesday, 9/11” and “Sunday Morning, 9/16” segments are the most well-known, all seven days of the poem are below to read and appreciate. Share them with your children.

September’s Song, A Poem in Seven Days

1 Tuesday 9/11/01

thunder and lightning and our world
is another place no day
will ever be the same no blood
untouched

they know this storm in otherwheres
israel ireland palestine
but God has blessed America
we sing

and God has blessed America
to learn that no one is exempt
the world is one all fear
is one all life all death
all one

2 Wednesday 9/12/01

this is not the time
i think
to note the terrorist
inside
who threw the brick
into the mosque
this is not the time
to note
the ones who cursed
Gods other name
the ones who threatened
they would fill the streets
with arab children’s blood
and this is not the time
i think
to ask who is allowed to be
american America
all of us gathered under one flag
praying together safely
warmed by the single love
of the many tongued God

3 Thursday 9/13/01

the firemen
ascend
like jacob’s ladder
into the mouth of
history

4 Friday 9/14/01

some of us know
we have never felt safe

all of us americans
weeping

as some of us have wept
before

is it treason to remember

what have we done
to deserve such villainy

nothing we reassure ourselves
nothing

5 Saturday 9/15/01

i know a man who perished for his faith.
others called him infidel, chased him down
and beat him like a dog. after he died
the world was filled with miracles.
people forgot he was a jew and loved him.
who can know what is intended? who can understand
the gods?

6 Sunday Morning 9/16/01
for bailey

the st. marys river flows
as if nothing has happened

i watch it with my coffee
afraid and sad as are we all

so many ones to hate and i
cursed with long memory

cursed with the desire to understand
have never been good at hating

now this new granddaughter
born into a violent world

as if nothing has happened

and i am consumed with love
for all of it

the everydayness of bravery
of hate of fear of tragedy

of death and birth and hope
true as this river

and especially with love
bailey fredrica clifton goin

for you

7 Monday Sundown 9/17/01

Rosh Hashanah

i bear witness to no thing
more human than hate

i bear witness to no thing
more human than love

apples and honey
apples and honey

what is not lost
is paradise

Lucille Clifton

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