the shadow of dark wings – 9.11.2001

yesterday was september 11th.

mention that date and i flash immediately to where i was when i first got the news.

september 11, 2001, my husband and i were still asleep in topanga, california when we were woken by a distraught voice through the answering machine, telling us to turn on the tv. still half-dazed, we pointed the remote and the next moment the room was flooded with the most horrifying images. i know here in south africa, people cheered at the sight. i don’t understand that. my immediate thought was for my husband’s family in new york and then the sheer horror of all those people trapped in those buildings. it was horrendous and i don’t think the world will ever be the same.

i was never eager to gain an american passport, but after that day in 2001, i became an american citizen. partially so that i could have a say in who next occupied the white house (even though my first american vote was an exercise in futility), but i identified with all those incredible americans who are not yahoos, who are against any kind of war, who, when you meet them, will embrace you with wide open kindness, generosity and spirit. even though i’m born african and that will never change, i’m glad and proud to be one of those americans and whether i get to live on american soil again or not, i will always be glad of the welcome and opportunities i received and still do, everytime i return, and i will always miss the love and friendship i was given so unreservedly by those americans so generally and stereotypically, reviled by many around the world. i’m glad i know otherwise.

(this is a poem i wrote at the time)

fragments 911/9.11 sandi schultz

Click to view full size image

image by andrew jan hauner

tomorrow is late
for the clocks were stopped today
time evaporating in a fiery ball
and with it all we know
of how a life is lived
a ghostly gray oblivion holds sway

so many vivid lights


today fear took flight on grim wings
a grisly nightmare from which we


cannot wake

the mind rebels
my mind repels reality as if any moment now
i’ll see the credits roll
relieved i’ll find that this is just
the spill of celluloid unspooling
a blockbuster

the world is rapidly unhinging
our souls are singed –

indigo tinged with rue
People horrified by the attacks on the World Trade Center
frozen faces mirror my feelings
the gashes of tear-stained stricken eyes
horrified hands aghast clasped
over silently screaming mouths

“this is the way the world ends
this is the way the world ends
this is the way the world ends…”

tomorrow is late
and despite our hopeful waiting
for some
today will never come

we are standing in the shadow of dark wings
we need to send out the light
we need to bend back the black
we have been to the depths

now let us ascend

2 thoughts on “the shadow of dark wings – 9.11.2001

  1. Hi, I do like your poem, the reference to T.S. Elliot, I think the hollow men is my favourite poem ever. I like the line “tomorrow is late”. But tell me, did people in SA really laugh?

  2. obviously not everyone laughed, but i had people tell me that in their office, they watched it live on tv and laughed and jeered because they felt america was getting what it deserved. *shaking head in disbelief*

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