Poet Lucille Clifton Reads a Poem About the Days Surrounding Sept. 11

September 8, 2006 at 12:00 AM EDT

LUCILLE CLIFTON, Former Poet Laureate Of Maryland: My name is Lucille Clifton. I was having lunch at Saint Mary’s College in Maryland on September 11, when I watched on television the devastation of the Twin Towers. And I thought a lot about that and about the fact that my eldest daughter had, had a new baby girl five days before, and about love and continuing and fear and hope. And this poem is a reaction to those thoughts and feelings. The poem is called “September’s Song: A Poem in Seven Days.” And I would like to read two days in the poem.

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

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

 Sunday Morning 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