Sunday, September 11, 2011

In response to a passage in Poets & Writers

"[...] And while several poets of note---including Stephen Dunn, Rachel Hadas, Seamus Heaney, Richard Howard, Colette Inez, David Lehman, Geoffrey O'Brien, Alicia Ostriker, Molly Peacock, Wislawa Szymborska, and Jean Valentine---have also addressed 9/11, none of their work so far has had the impact of the best commemorative poems of, say, W. H. Auden or Robert Lowell. [...]"

---Kevin Nance, from "The Literature of 9/11," Poets & Writers, Sept / Oct 2011

Maybe so, maybe so. But the list of names above leaves out a number of communities---communities movingly represented and depicted in this poem:

Alabanza: In Praise of Local 100

for the 43 members of Hotel Employees and Restaurant Employees Local l00, working at the Windows on the World restaurant, who lost their lives in the attack on the World Trade Center
Alabanza. Praise the cook with a shaven head   
and a tattoo on his shoulder that said Oye,   
a blue-eyed Puerto Rican with people from Fajardo,   
the harbor of pirates centuries ago.   
Praise the lighthouse in Fajardo, candle   
glimmering white to worship the dark saint of the sea.   
Alabanza. Praise the cook’s yellow Pirates cap   
worn in the name of Roberto Clemente, his plane   
that flamed into the ocean loaded with cans for Nicaragua,   
for all the mouths chewing the ash of earthquakes.   
Alabanza. Praise the kitchen radio, dial clicked   
even before the dial on the oven, so that music and Spanish   
rose before bread. Praise the bread. Alabanza.

The whole poem may be read HERE.


No comments: