"Survivors--Found" by Joan Murray

Moderators: thief of dreams, nekot

Post Reply
User avatar
nekot
Poetry Piper
Posts: 1562
Joined: Tue Jan 09, 2007 10:11 pm
Location: North Carolina, USA
Contact:

"Survivors--Found" by Joan Murray

Post by nekot » Sat Oct 13, 2007 6:27 pm

anthology
1640, from L. anthologia, from Gk. anthologia "flower-gathering," from anthos "a flower" (see anther) + logia "collection, collecting," from legein "gather" (see lecture). Modern sense (which emerged in Late Gk.) is metaphoric, "flowers" of verse, small poems by various writers gathered together.

An anthology is a collection of writings, usually revolving around a theme, by different authors or the same author. I found the etymology of anthology quite beautiful. Hmmm....thinking about it, Poetry Pages is like a garden. :grin:

During my tenure as poet laureate, I'd like to feature poems by people from different cultures, faiths, beliefs. How far I'll get is yet to be seen. :wink: I'll do my best to dig out the context in which the poems were written.

Scroll down to read "Survivors--Found."

:hello:

Cheers,
~carol

Back to index:
Gathering of Flowers Index
~eloquently scattered~
nekot's tokens

Image

User avatar
nekot
Poetry Piper
Posts: 1562
Joined: Tue Jan 09, 2007 10:11 pm
Location: North Carolina, USA
Contact:

Re: "Gathering of Flowers"

Post by nekot » Sat Oct 13, 2007 6:59 pm

The poem below, "Survivors--Found," was written by Joan Murray.

Joan writes about this poem in her anthology of poems from various poets, Poems to Live By in Uncertain Times:

"...the attack on the World Trade Center...left me, like most people, overwhelmed by a tremendous sense of loss. A few days later, in the cafe car of a train, I met six young firemen on their way to New York to dig at the wreckage site. They were nervous--and excited. We all knew it was unlikely that survivors would be found, and silently we understood what their task would be. Yet by coming forward to do this very difficult thing, they had stepped across some line and had become larger than themselves. They seemed to be lit from within.

I realized they were people my parents' generation would have recognized--the sort of people who'd been missing from "the scene." Yet now, with all the footage of the victims, survivors, and rescue workers, people like them--who went about their lives, did their jobs, and cared deeply about one another and this nation--were suddenly visible again.

I went back to my seat and began a poem, "Survivors--Found." It shout out of me, in ballad form, like someone spontaneously leaping up to sing. Emerson would have said the poem was hovering out there, and it was my task to pull it down. It was clearly an occasional poem, admittedly not a great poem. But it had the force of an inevitable poem, as if someone needed it.

Someone needed to see that despite the loss of thousands of brave, generous, everyday people, many more like them had been found--right next door.

Four days after I wrote it, I read "Survivors--Foune" on National Public Radio's
Morning Edition. At once, phone calls, leters, and messages began pouring in. Thousands of strangers were contacting me to thank me, or they were hitting the NPR website or the website of the writers institute where I work. Most wanted copies so they could read it to others.....

I was moved by these people's urgent and unembarrassed need for a poem--for words that cut through all the pages and pages of reportage (so they told me) and addressed their anxiety and deep sense of loss. ......."


You can hear Joan read her poem here -- NPR: America Transformed



Survivors--Found

We thought that they were gone--
we rarely saw them on our screens--
those everyday Americans
with workaday routines,

and the heroes standing ready--
not glamorous enough--
on days without a tragedy,
we clicked--and turned them off.

We only saw the cynics--
the dropouts, show-offs, snobs--
the right- and left- wing critics:
we saw that they were us.

But with the wounds of Tuesday
when the smoke began to clear,
we rubbed away our stony gaze--
and watched them reappear:

the waitress in the tower,
the broker reading mail,
a pair of window washers,
filling up a final pail,

the husband's last "I love you"
from the last seat of a plane,
the tourist taking in a view
no one would see again,

the fireman, his eyes ablaze
as he climbed the swaying stairs--
he knew someone might still be saved.
We wondered who it was.

We glimpsed them through the rubble:
the ones who lost their lives,
the heroes' doubleburials,
the ones now "left behind,"

the ones who rolled a sleeve up,
the ones in scrubs and masks,
the ones who lifted buckets
filled with stone and grief and ash:

some spoke adifferent language--
still no one missed a phrase;
the soot had softened every face
of every shade and age--

"the greatest generation" ?--
we wondered where they'd gone--
they hadn't left directions
how to find our nation-home:

for thirty years we saw few signs,
but now in swirls of dust,
they were alive--they had survived--
we saw that they were us.
~eloquently scattered~
nekot's tokens

Image

User avatar
heinzs
The Fat Cat
Posts: 8361
Joined: Tue Dec 18, 2001 12:01 am
Tag line: Do no harm
Location: Novato, CA
Contact:

Re: "Gathering of Flowers"

Post by heinzs » Sat Oct 13, 2007 7:08 pm

:bow:
**************************************
An' it harm none, do what ye will. Blessed Be.
Image
***************************************
My Poet's Page Archive | Topics I've started

User avatar
Spazway
Lost in a Dream
Posts: 1051
Joined: Fri Sep 03, 2004 10:06 pm
Location: Barrie, Ontario, Canada
Contact:

Re: "Gathering of Flowers"

Post by Spazway » Mon Oct 15, 2007 9:14 am

:crying: I was overwhelmed with emotion while reading this piece and had to stop more than once to wipe the tears from my cheeks and to try to quell the raising of goosebumps on my arms. This piece that you've shared Carol brought me back to that fateful day full force...I remembered my mom waking me from a sound sleep to tell me to put the TV on and I saw the images of the towers coming down...I remembered how, even though I live on the other side of the border, when I closed my eyes that night all I could see were the images of the planes hitting the towers...how that nightmare stayed with me for several days and the uncertainty we all felt as we awaited word about some family members and relatives of friends who lived in NYC...this piece reminded me of the relief I'd felt upon hearing the story of one of my childhood friend's weddings: how something had told him and his then-fiancee to get married a few weeks earlier than they'd planned...if they hadn't done that, they would have been at the World Trade Centre on 9/11 (they went to NYC for their honeymoon and the WTC was one of their destinations...they were able to visit it only a few weeks prior to the attacks).

Thank you, Carol, for sharing this wondefully emotional piece (and I apologise if I've hijacked your thread in any way. :lol:) :bow:
If you live to be a hundred, I want to live to be a hundred minus one day so I never have to live without you. ~ A. A. Milne

User avatar
nekot
Poetry Piper
Posts: 1562
Joined: Tue Jan 09, 2007 10:11 pm
Location: North Carolina, USA
Contact:

Re: "Gathering of Flowers"

Post by nekot » Wed Oct 17, 2007 8:32 pm

Spazway wrote::crying: I was overwhelmed with emotion while reading this piece and had to stop more than once to wipe the tears from my cheeks and to try to quell the raising of goosebumps on my arms. This piece that you've shared Carol brought me back to that fateful day full force...I remembered my mom waking me from a sound sleep to tell me to put the TV on and I saw the images of the towers coming down...I remembered how, even though I live on the other side of the border, when I closed my eyes that night all I could see were the images of the planes hitting the towers...how that nightmare stayed with me for several days and the uncertainty we all felt as we awaited word about some family members and relatives of friends who lived in NYC...this piece reminded me of the relief I'd felt upon hearing the story of one of my childhood friend's weddings: how something had told him and his then-fiancee to get married a few weeks earlier than they'd planned...if they hadn't done that, they would have been at the World Trade Centre on 9/11 (they went to NYC for their honeymoon and the WTC was one of their destinations...they were able to visit it only a few weeks prior to the attacks).

Thank you, Carol, for sharing this wondefully emotional piece (and I apologise if I've hijacked your thread in any way. :lol:) :bow:
Dittos on the emotion...and a "wow" regarding your friends.

For me, to know the context in which she wrote it made it come alive even more.

You didn't hijack the thread....it's here for sharing. :grin: Thanks for commenting!
~eloquently scattered~
nekot's tokens

Image

User avatar
preston
Forever Silent Friend
Posts: 756
Joined: Thu Oct 24, 2002 12:01 am
Location: Lone Star State

Re: "Survivors--Found" by Joan Murray

Post by preston » Wed Nov 14, 2007 7:22 am

"the greatest generation" ?--
we wondered where they'd gone--
they hadn't left directions
how to find our nation-home:
Every generation thinks they're the greatest ... the most enlightened.
My generation pushed the envelope more than any before it ... bringing about some much needed social changes and helping to bring about an end to an unjust war.
And here we are 30 years later ... right back where we started ... but two steps back.

It'll be interesting to see how things turn out.

~

User avatar
jeannerené
Winter's Rose
Posts: 685
Joined: Thu Jul 04, 2002 12:01 am
Location: CA

Re: "Survivors--Found" by Joan Murray

Post by jeannerené » Wed Nov 21, 2007 5:14 pm

Nekot....

Thank you for posting. I don't know what else to say ...except I really felt this poem.. top to bottom ....beginning to end....

.jeanne.
... and his words purge up and outward,
expelled and onward through desert dust swallowed,
sands he says that gorge on simple sensibilities.
And, now he spits fragments, grit, extended vowels and elongated syllables
over cracked lips. Their sounds fall
piling round his boots…
~ jeannerené

Image

~breathe~


flickr -jeannerene photostream

Post Reply

Return to “Poet Laureate October 2007 - March 2008: Nekot”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest