I remember her
violets here and there
she picked only one
My tribute goes deep. One of my family members was first responder and we are grateful she is still in our lives. A couple of my former students at the time lost family members. A colleague lost his cousin. As everyone else, I remember vividly the events of the day. I can remember things I said, what I had for breakfast and the pounding of heart. It all started during the first period of the school day. I had to be strong for my students and the teachers under my supervision. I was not supposed to panic. I had to be strong for all of them. I remained as calm as I humanly could and tried to comfort the children who had been entrusted to me.
I did not breakdown until I returned home that evening and looked to the New York City skyline from my car to see the devastation. Although all I could see was smoke, I kept thinking of the people who lived in that area and all the lives lost. I thought about my old neighborhood and how terrified people must have been in those horrific moments. I thanked God that my family was safe. I recently visited the 9/11 memorial. It is amazing. It was very emotional and sad but at the same time I felt hopeful. I know we will never ever forget. I just pray that it gets better for all the family members who lost their loved ones. I did not realize or maybe I’d blocked out some of the facts of that day. Only six people survived. Most especially I was stunned to know that 11 unborn children had also perished. Now that I am a grandmother this fact is harder to accept. However, I believe with all my heart they are our angels of hope.
I did not write a poem this year but I focused on the numbers that appear in every newspaper, blog, flyer, book, and all accounts of that beautiful September day that became the most tragic day in the history of our country. May their souls rest in peace.
Numbers with meaning
No matter how many years
Twelve to be exact
What remains is fact
Nothing rids our tears
And deep down at times we fear
What destiny plans for us
However in God we must trust
That never again
There will be a 9/11
Today we all remember
The souls taken from us all
On a day dressed in a beautiful sky of blue
Flags furl courageously around the memorial fountain
as water flows in silence
Soft music strummed on violins
Allow all our Angels to sing
Three bells are tolled to mark the pace of
The endless moments now locked in time
As love ones read their names
For all these years and more
Our lives will never be the same
In the crevices that inscribe
Each name in marble for eternity
A mother gently places a rose
In remembrance of a love she can only know
And a daughter traces her father’s name
Although she never got to meet him
Let us not forget today
At any time in any way
Or the atrocities inflicted upon
To many young children so far away
May our humanity and innate goodness
God guide us through hard times
Peace and love must never fail
God bless the souls lost in 9/11
Forever and especially today
Let’s all look up to the heavens
In unison we must pray
God bless America!
May Peace be the only way.
She barely smiled
but when she did
it was like she smiled
for all of us, all at once
She sequestered herself
away from the world outside
her humble home
soon after my grandfather died
I never met him
but she made him come alive to me
with stories of his exquisite chivalry
His portrait sat on the table
beside where Grandma sat
to fold the laundry and fine linen
Each fold she made
and perfectly aligned
her wrinkled hands
caressed the fabric
with great tenderness
a pillow case could not
I felt her love
when she gently brushed
my hair for the first time
(I could remember)
and wrapped it in a bun.
She told extraordinary stories
about her childhood, my grandfather
and the things that according to her
every girl should know
about life in general.
She smoked cigars
which I found unreal
but she did it with the grace
of a queen.
What I remember most
is her love for her pets
although not the traditional
dog or cat.
She raised chickens and hens, and roosters
gave them all names at that
Had short conversations with them every day
about the weather and what was on her mind
Then on any given day
at any given time
when she felt they were fat enough
to cook one of them
for us to dine.
As I remember the many conversations I had
with my beloved grandmother
we all called Mita
and do not ask me why
I think about
the things that my grand children
will remember about me after I have died.
I hope Mita knows how
much she influenced
me as a storyteller and poet.
I could almost see her smile.
and once again it warmed my heart
because when she smiled
it was like she smiled for all of us.
*My grandmother passed away 37 years ago.
How do you want to be remembered? asked the poet
There were three poets, one doctor and two teachers present to respond to the poet’s question.
Finally after a long silence and obvious pondering the doctor says, “I want to be remembered as someone who took my oath seriously.
One poet said, ” I want to be remembered as a poet who wanted to promote peace.”
The other poet said, “I will be remembered as the king of the couplet.”
The remaining poet said, ” I hope people will remember me as the simple poet.”
Then the two teachers looked at each other politely and gestured one another to speak first.
After a few seconds one teacher speaks. “I want to be remembered for my patience,” she said.
The other teacher remains pensive for a few more seconds. She says, “I hope that the students I was not able to reach somehow know that
I am deeply sorry I was not able to reach them. I hope they finally know that my heart-felt their pain and that I wished I could have been a
better teacher to them.”
A few weeks ensued and the poet learns that the teacher had passed away. He was so moved by what she said that he decides to write her a
Here is the poem:
You made a mark
inside my heart
many years ago
removed my fears
and washed away my tears
you tried so hard
to make me see
and helped me to believe in me.
your love for poetry
inspired me to write poems
my rhyming thoughts
you did not see
the you you left in me.
You set me free with the poetry
you read so beautifully.
you thought I was not looking
you thought I was not listening
I hope you know
you could not have been a better teacher
you soothed my pain
and will remain
in my heart forever.
“Now and Forever”
was the song playing on the radio
that lonely morning
as I drove to see you one
I could not sleep
thinking you might not last
through the night
and you did not.
“you are a part of me
now and forever,
Sometimes I wish I could always be with you
The way we used to do”
You were always there for me
and I miss you so much.
It has been 19 years to the day
you decided not to stay
and I know deep in my heart
why you could not
and it’s O.K.,
I know you found the way
“And I think about all the words between us
That never needed to be spoken”
“Now and forever
I will always think of you.
Now and forever
I will always think of you.”
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