As the fifteenth anniversary of 911 approaches, I have been re-reading some of my journal entries from that unforgettable moment in history. It seems my words failed me in the first minutes and then hours after the attack on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. Too much information . . . too little information . . . I just kept scratching out random thoughts, emotions, a fireball of words as the mind-numbing images kept hurtling themselves across my television screen, my hand and brain out of sync.
I had lived through the Kennedy and King assassinations, Landing on the Moon, the Shuttle crashes, the unrest of the Sixties, but this? This defied anything I had ever seen or heard about, including the attack on Pearl Harbor. A great lump of fear and sadness filled my body.
Now, fifteen years later, it is still hard to wrap my head around the events of that day. But as time slowed and I began to see with the deeper eye of my soul, this poem came to me in a yoga class. I offer it in remembrance of that terrible day and all those who lost their lives or the lives of their loved ones.
Thoughts in a Yoga Class-In Memory of September 11, 2001
As I control each breath–exhale–inhale
Each draught of vital gas,
Transparent clouds that fill my lungs,
I feel the breath slipping out of the nostril of the world
As it leaves your body in a great sigh.
If I could breath for you,
Lost brother, broken wife, bleeding friend,
As you wait in that infinite choke of dust and steel,
If I could breathe for you, I would. In and out,
One breath for you–one for me. But I cannot.
You wait in vain while I breathe in
All this superfluous air.
So much more than I need.
But I cannot share–only weep from heart and eye
And repeat with each breath
May the light in me recognize
The light in you. And at this moment
We are one.
You will live on in me . . .
I will die in you.