Saturday, October 15, 2016

"Beautiful and terrible things . . . "

~ Autumn Trees, Shadows, Reflections ~
“The grace of God means something like: Here is your life. You might never have been, but you are because the party* wouldn't have been complete without you. Here is the world. Beautiful and terrible things will happen. Don't be afraid. I am with you. Nothing can ever separate us. It's for you I created the universe. I love you.” ~ Frederick Buechner
*Guess what? When Buechner says party, he does not mean political party! Our current and recent thoughts, however, are of politics; thus I offer the following:
~ Pre - Election Reflection ~

From Guest Blogger Bruce L. Carriker

@ The Fortnightly Kitti Carriker:
A Fortnightly [every 14th & 28th] Literary Blog of
Connection & Coincidence; Custom & Ceremony

Previous guest commentary includes:

Eulogy for our Brother - in - Law Ron

Lives, Fortunes, Sacred Honor

Pearl Harbor Day

A Break From Politics

October, Baseball, and Cats

(also on facebook: A Note About The Cardinals)

Thanks Dave!

Happy Birthday to My Twin Brother Bruce

Thursday, October 13, 2016

A World of Octobers

“I'm so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers.”
from Anne of Green Gables
by L.M. Montgomery

Detail from October
by John Whetton Ehninger

Original at the Smithsonian
Click to learn more about Knickerbocker:
Family ~ Ancestery ~ Literary Group

Closer to Home:
Autumnal painting of beautiful
West Baden Springs ~ Indiana

And a few miles down the road,
a summery October day
at Indiana University, Bloomington
"What is so rare as a weekend in October?"

Monday, October 10, 2016

AI Is Easy

Coinciding with Purdue's Dawn or Doom16 Conference last week was the appearance on my facebook pageof this wry revision of Richard Scarry's Busytown (thanks Ned Stuckey - French). It was pertinent to the moment but also brought back a chain of memories. When my nephews Jerrod and Dan's outgrew their old multi -lingual 20th Century edition, they passed it on to my boys, Ben and Sam, who in turn sent it back to Jerrod's girls, Brittany & Kiya, when the time was right for them to enjoy it!

Upon seeing the 21st Century spoof, my brother Bruce right away wanted to be the "rage pundit," and Gerry observed that there were some possible Dawn or Doom occupations listed here, such as "tech start - up executive" and "tech start - up P.R. disaster recovery specialist."

Garrison Keillor had a similarly good one the other day: "Platform Resource Imager." I guess that's a real thing. And here's a half - in - jest one from Dawn or Doom Keynote Speaker Dave Eggers: "Director of Ensuring the Future" (see "The Circle, p 3).

At the conference Eggers briefly discussed his novel and upcoming movie) and then moved on to bleaker topics. He expressed concern that we don't embrace the future the way we once did, that we lack substantial forward - looking projects, such as NASA, the Race for Space, and even the Jetsons -- that inspired kids in the 1950s & 60s. Eggers recalled a time when the anticipation of Dawn seemed to outweigh the apprehension of Doom.

On the other hand, Keynote Speaker Marcus Shingles came down clearly on the side of Dawn with his vision of abundance for all: "The future is better than you think; we must strive for distribution of innovation" (in a subsequent session Bret Swanson drew similar conclusions).

Looking at both sides, guest speaker Mike Fong urged us to guard our personal information with vigilance. He described the prevalence of unmonitored information - gathering that takes place all the time (primarily through our cell phones), recording every step we take, every move we make, every thought we think, every turtleneck we purchase, and so forth.

While it's true that information, if misused, could lead to our Doom, it also carries the potential of Dawn. Fong's cautious optimism -- "We should be able to unite humanity in a common awe . . . but we just don't have all the information" -- brings to mind that great passage from James Morrow's novel, Only Begotten Daughter: "Science does have all the answers . . . we [just] don't have all the science" (90, 187).

As for Artificial Intelligence, Shingles entertained the audience with his quip that "AI is Easy, AV is Hard" (while making a last - minute switch in presentation topic and searching his laptop for the corresponding powerpoint). The previous day, Professor Jennifer Neville had explained that AI can be Easy (teaching computers how to play chess) or it can be Hard (teaching computers to have good manners, social skills, common decency). My personal observation: using my cellphone -- my own little piece of AI -- is convenient but not easy!

Random notes from The National Writers Panel:
"Reporting on Emerging Techologies"

Quentin Hardy:

"One person looking at a cell phone = five different stories, at least."

"Technology breakthroughs: something akin to magic has just occurred in our world."

"It's kind of big! Where do I stop?"

"Reporting on emerging technologies is really a task of covering delusional people, because if you knew the odds of your start - up failing / succeeding, you'd never get out of bed!"

Jared Parrish:

"A million problems that percolate up and result in a whiteness in journalism."

"There is a lack of diversity both in journalism itself and in industries being covered; both in the start - ups and on the reporting staff who cover start - ups."

"People want to be what they see."

Natalie Di Blasio:

"The day of journalism happens; the the evening of commentary descends on Earth."

Emily Dreyfuss:

It is important to cover all topics, not just topics of personal interest.

"Readers crave depth, difficulty of topic."

Additional Reading Suggestions

Amygdala vs Prefrontal Cortex

Marc Goodman: Future Crimes

Walter Kirn: "If You're Not Paranoid, You're Crazy," Atlantic, November 2015

Ray Kurzweil: The Singularity is Near

Language Quality Game (Thanks Karthik Kannan)

Linear Steps vs Exponential Steps

John Markoff: How Tech Giants Are Devising Real Ethics for Artificial Intelligence

Podcast: Lexicon Valley (Thanks Charlotte VanVactor)

Podcast: "Note To Self"

Pro Publica: Breaking the Black Box: When Machines Learn by Experimenting on Us (Thanks Marguerite ~ Chapman)

Someone mentioned an Arnold Schwarzenegger movie:
was it Total Recall?

TED Talk on Monkey Money

Apparently the data center at the heart of the
Carmike Coastal10 movieplex
is run by Invisible Zombies.
"Dawn or Doom," I ask?
Gerry McCartney answers: Actually Dawn in this case.
Diana Hancock replies: I think it is beautiful,
but suspiciously lacking in the human touch.

Previous Posts

Dawn of Doom


Dawn or Doom2

Dawn or Doom?

Safe Home

Friday, October 7, 2016

Dawn of Doom

Last year, the Dawn or Doom take-away for me was the term wisdoom. I never did figure out if it was an unintentional misspelling or an intentional pun; but either way, it captures the intertwining essence of Dawn or Doom -- in much wisdom is much sorrow; in much dawn is much doom (to extrapolate from Ecclesiastes).

This year's winning moment occurred when Bob Mankoff, cartoon editor for The New Yorker Magazine, glanced over his introductory notes with a quizzical look and said, "I just now realized that the title of this conference is Dawn or Doom. I thought it was Dawn of Doom!"

Mankoff went on to define various theories of humor such as nonsense, bisociation, and incongruity resolution -- reminding me of a long ago Humor & Satire class in which we learned Aristotle's theory of frustrated expectation and Plato's theory of derision and superiority. He explained how an A.I. editor could be taught to sort for key words and length of punchline, even if it was not endowed with a sense of humor.

But what I kept coming back to throughout the day was that little misreading: Dawn of Doom. It was kind of funny but also worrisome. Have we been keeping watch all through the night in anticipation of the Dawn of Doom? I carried that potentially gloomy revelation with me for the remainder of the conference.

As we used to say when studying Keats, "After dark vapors -- dark vapors." In this mostly optimistic dawn - foretelling sonnet, the poet predicts sweetness after sorrow, a "long dreary season" followed by the "calmest thoughts":
After dark vapors have oppress’d our plains
For a long dreary season, comes a day
Born of the gentle South, and clears away
From the sick heavens all unseemly stains.
The anxious month, relieved of its pains,
Takes as a long-lost right the feel of May;
The eyelids with the passing coolness play
Like rose leaves with the drip of Summer rains.
The calmest thoughts came round us; as of leaves
Budding—fruit ripening in stillness—Autumn suns
Smiling at eve upon the quiet sheaves—
Sweet Sappho’s cheek—a smiling infant’s breath—
The gradual sand that through an hour-glass runs—
A woodland rivulet—a Poet’s death.

John Keats, English Romantic Poet (1795 - 1821)
Aside from the sadly accurate prophecy of the "Poet's death," Keats opts for a vision of Dawn; but back in the day, we graduate students took a gloomier view. Forget all that sweetness and light! The first line of the poem was all that we needed: "After dark vapors -- dark vapors." We shared the sardonic grad school humor of Jorge Cham, roboticist and cartoonist, who entertained us at Dawn or Doom16 with his books and movies, particularly The PHD Movie and The PHD Movie 2 (watch both).

Thanks to Jorge Cham ("1. Never 2. Probably Never 3. Maybe In A Million Years" ) and Bob Mankoff ("How About Never--Is Never Good for You?") and so many others who spent a day at Purdue exploring the spectrum from Brave New A. I. World to Techno - Apocalypse.

Previous Posts


Dawn or Doom2

Dawn or Doom?

Safe Home

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

St. Francis Day

Fuqua (black) and Pine (tortoiseshell),
sunning themselves and being nice to each other!
It's always nice to see everyone else's pets out socializing,
but my cats would be way too nervous to attend a social event,
such as The Blessing of the Pets (this coming Sunday).

A Sermon for The Feast of Saint Francis of Assisi ~ October 4th
given by The Reverend Nancy C. Tiederman
on Sunday October 8, 2006

How we love St. Francis . . . [and] blessing our pets and other living things in his honor. Francis was a theologian and a liturgist. He believed God to be the source of all, and he wrote prayers and canticles praising God’s wonderful creation.

We see pictures of Francis with animals, and we read stories of his ability to communicate with birds, wolves and burros. A person who could “whisper” with so many kinds of creatures must have been the equivalent of today’s scientist – a careful observer, paying attention, listening, watching, thinking and interpreting his observations.

We live with a different scientific world view than a 13th century Italian monk. We know about solar systems beyond our solar system, about black holes and quarks and sub-atomic particles. We live in a post-Darwinian world and Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution makes some people very anxious, even fearful.

To protect their understanding of God and of the biblical account of creation, some deny any truth to the theory of evolution. To respect the scientific approach to life, other people deny the possibility of God. Another group tries to ride both horses and presents an assumption (not a theory) called “Intelligent Design.”

The Bible is not intended to be a source for scientific and historical truth. The Bible records God’s unfolding self-disclosure through time to specific people: first, the Israelites, then the people on The Way. In the 3rd century, Christian theologian Origen taught that some stories are both true and factual (the crucifixion of Jesus) and some stories are true but not factual (parables like the Good Samaritan and the Prodigal Son). Origen could not believe light and darkness existed before the sun, moon and stars were created. Or that the invisible and transcendent God took a daily stroll in the Garden of Eden to enjoy the evening breezes. Or that the Maker of heaven and earth could not locate Adam and Eve when they hid from him. Origen called these “absurdities” and said they were unsubtle hints from God that he wanted the account of creation read in an altogether different way, as truth embedded in the semblance of history, truth conveyed through story. Genesis answers the question of why the world exists, but not how it came to be.

Religion addresses moral and existential issues. What is the meaning of life? How do we live with each other? Science describes the observable world of experience. Both science and religion have been major contributors to the development of Western civilization. Both play important – but different - roles in our lives.

The well-financed Intelligent Design movement is a highly organized attempt to defeat scientific materialism (and its’ so-called destructive moral, cultural and political legacies) and replace it with theistic understanding. To refute Evolutionary theory, they argue from incredulity: i.e., how can you believe otherwise? Living organisms on Earth are so complex and so intricately constructed they cannot plausibly have arisen through the unguided action of natural selection, so there must be an Intelligent Designer. People find intelligent design in the natural order because they read the evidence through the spectacles of their prior Christian faith. Observation of order does not account for dis-order; for tsunamis, hurricanes, earthquakes which doom the innocent. I.D. is not science: it is opinion, philosophical preference, a belief, natural theology, religion. Existence of God cannot be proven from observation. God exists outside of creation, beyond observation. We believe in the existence of God by faith – by wavering, skeptical, trusting, humble faith.

Science plays by different rules. “Science,” said Albert Einstein “describes what is.” Science consists of the description of certain laws of nature, summarizing observed patterns, and science consists of theories. In every day speech, we use “theory” when we mean speculation. Scientific theories are not uncertain speculations. To convey uncertainty; a scientist uses the word hypothesis. Scientific theories are based on experiment, experiments which can be repeated. Lasting theories start with an assumption, and then describe all appropriate phenomena. Theories can be broadly applied. New theories are built on old ones. Theories become the basis for predictions. Evolutionary theory is the unifying theme of all modern biology. Darwin’s theory of evolution is entangled with Gregor Mendel’s theory of genetics. The predictive power of Darwin and Mendel is stunning. Hundreds of Darwin’s predicted missing links have been found. The genes Mendel postulated in 1860 are seen these days with electron microscopes; biologists routinely cut and paste genes and observe the evolution of new ones that enhance fitness to survive. The theory of evolution is justified by the rules of science; it is not religion and it does not replace religion. It neither denies nor confirms faith in God.

We affect evolution through genome efforts. We keep alive infants who would have perished prior to recent scientific knowledge. We seek to heal cancer, Parkinson’s, diabetes and other diseases through manipulation of cells. We must use scientific discoveries wisely and that begins with having respect for science and scientific methods.

Religion is the assurance of things not seen. Religion provides the ethical frameworks with which we make decisions about how to use scientific discoveries. Religion guides aesthetics. Interwoven with the evolution of a human exists a love for the music of Bach and Mozart. Why? Where did that come from? Interwoven with the evolution of the human has come increasing understanding of mathematics. We don’t invent mathematics: we discover mathematics that already exists. We needed arithmetic. We don’t need mathematics to survive, so why do some humans spend time pondering mathematical proofs?

Isn’t it possible, isn’t it true, that we are co-creators with God – affecting our planet, changing our air, land mass, vegetation and water. Isn’t it true we sometimes create wisely and sometimes disastrously? Isn’t creation on-going? Isn’t God in the creation from the bottom up instead of from the top down? Isn’t God in the soup out of which came life. I believe that in each and every moment, God is inviting or luring us into the best possible choice for that moment – whether the choice is in our cells, in our observing and thinking, or in the ethics of the situation. We may choose wisely or we may choose foolishly. In the next moment of time, God offers us choices from the new options now available – we may choose wisely, we may choose foolishly. When we choose wisely, we move towards redemption and ultimately reconciliation. When we choose foolishly, we speak of darkness, evil, Satan.

During WWII, Archbishop of Canterbury, William Temple, wrote: “If we choose wisely, God is with us. If we choose foolishly, God is with us. Wise or foolish, God is with us.” Amen. Emanu-el. God is with us. Do not fear science. Don’t accept the substitute of a weak philosophical approach or a flight to biblical literalism for intellectual thought. Demand systemic rigor and ethical methods in scientific research. We have intellect. Develop it; use it; apply it. Praise God with it by giving God your best. Praise God in song. Praise God in rigorous thinking. Jesus died to take away your sins, not your mind. Emanu-el. God is with us.

~ The Rev. Nancy C. Tiederman

Kitti & Nancy ~ at the Seattle Art Museum ~ March 2016

Previous Blog Posts & Thoughts from Nancy

Rilke ~ Prayers

Sean or Sam?

Celtic Blessing

Harry Potter Christmas Letter ~ 2000

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Bringing in the Sheep

Bringing in the Sheaves:
The Harvest, 1882

Bringing in the Sheep:
Shepherdess Bringing in Sheep, 1886

These two paintings by Camille Pissarro perfectly illustrate the confusion I experienced as a small child whenever my grandmother sang the old hymn "Bringing in the Sheaves" -- or as I heard it: "bringing in the sheep." An understandable mix-up, don't you think, amidst all the Sunday School imagery of sheep and shepherds!

Bringing in the Sheaves
Sowing in the morning, sowing seeds of kindness,
Sowing in the noontide and the dewy eve;
Waiting for the harvest, and the time of reaping,
We shall come rejoicing, bringing in the sheaves.

Bringing in the sheaves, bringing in the sheaves,
We shall come rejoicing, bringing in the sheaves;
Bringing in the sheaves, bringing in the sheaves,
We shall come rejoicing, bringing in the sheaves.

Sowing in the sunshine, sowing in the shadows,
Fearing neither clouds nor winter’s chilling breeze;
By and by the harvest, and the labor ended,
We shall come rejoicing, bringing in the sheaves. (Chorus)

Going forth with weeping, sowing for the Master,
Tho' the loss sustained our spirit often grieves;
When our weeping’s over, He will bid us welcome,
We shall come rejoicing, bringing in the sheaves. (Chorus)

Lyrics & music by Knowles Shaw ~ 1874
Alternate tune by George Minor ~ 1880

Apparently, I'm not the only one
who thought this was a song about sheep!

Thursday, September 29, 2016


Bringing in the Harvest ~ ca 1890
by Hendrik Pieter Koekkoek (1843 – 1927)

Michaelmas -- I have always loved the sound of that word and always intended to learn more about this festival -- the Feast of St. Michael -- a celebration of harvest, shortening days, and end - of - the - summer fruits and flowers, hence Michaelmas Daisies and blackberry pies.

I never cease to be intrigued by all the folklore associated with this season and the cluster of celebrations that crowd the calendar, ranging from the Autumnal Equinox to the Winter Solstice. I am so excited for every single one of these beautiful days and the way that everything fits together, leading up to my favorite time of year.

I read a good little quotation awhile back but didn't copy it down, something along the lines of: "life belongs to God." That observation appeals to me during such a splendid autumn, with each afternoon entirely gorgeous enough to break your heart and all the holidays packed with so much meaning. Just glancing out the window is enough to fill me with the sensation that, yes, surely, "life belongs to God."

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

What a Wonderful World

Night Light Globe & Baby Hugg-A-Planet
"I hear babies crying, I watch them grow
They'll learn much more than I'll never know
And I think to myself what a wonderful world"

Sung so beautifully by
Louis Armstrong ~ Israel "IZ" Kamakawiwo'ole

My inspiring millennial son Ben McCartney,
featured here in 1991, shortly before his first birthday,
trying to figure out how to make the world a better place!

Insightful Family Discussion about How to Fix the Planet
on my current post

~ What A Wonderful World ~

@ The Fortnightly Kitti Carriker:
A Fortnightly [every 14th & 28th] Literary Blog of
Connection & Coincidence; Custom & Ceremony

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Garden of Paradise

Uncle Al & Auntie Tee's Apple Tree
Early September & Late October ~ 2015

"The end of summer or start of autumn?
Your favourite apple tree is getting rosier by the day."

The Singing Ringing Tree
Mid - September ~ 2015
"Apples are still going strong,
but autumn is here now for sure."
Thanks to my brother - in - law Alastair for keeping me updated on this mythic apple tree, growing in the center of paradise, over in sunny England! This autumn, Al writes:
"Doing OK, but not as good as last year . . .

Tina's yellow raspberries are doing well though."

Remember Thomas Carlyle's absolutely
perfect quotation for anyone who just
hates to be told "No" -- and who doesn't?
“Let me have my own way in exactly everything
and a sunnier and pleasanter creature does not exist.”

And what better location for perfect happiness and soulful communion than in the heart of my sister - in - law's perfectly sunny and pleasant garden! Not long now, and that's where I shall be! I hear the tidings already!
“Does it ever give thee pause that men used to have a soul? Not by hearsay alone, or as a figure of speech, but as a truth that they knew and acted upon. Verily it was another world then, but yet it is a pity we have lost the tidings of our souls. We shall have to go in search of them again or worse in all ways shall befall us."

Thomas Carlyle (1795 – 1881)
Scottish philosopher and social commentator
~ Click for more British Garden Pics ~

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Equinox Harvest

Such an ingathering of yellow squash this time of year!
Vegetables Cultivated by Gerry
Succulent Cutting Shared by Beata

Beata also provided these last day of summer
photos and captions of her
colorful garden, ever - flourishing, regardless of the season:

Summer Twining

Summer Delight

Summer Way

Wednesday, September 21, 2016


Just hanging out, eating dinner in front of the television and watching our favorite show, when what to our wondering eyes should appear but a few answers to which Gerry and I definitely knew the questions!

We love it when that happens! Once back in November 2015, again in mid - July 2016, and, most recently, tonight:

Q: Who is John Purdue?

Q: What is Purdue?

Q: What is Computer Science?

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Portal to the Divine

"I want to touch water and wood,
other’s hands--everything alive,
so steeped in summer sunshine
and the glory of rebirth."

~ Sister Celine Carrigan, O.S.B. ~

From the Wilds of News Mexico ~ Photo by Joni Menard

My dear friend Joni (since junior high days) shared this perfect photograph and the following kind and inspiring comment in response to my recent tribute to my dear departed friend Celine (since grad school days):

"So when you posted this, Curt and I were on our way to the wilds of New Mexico. I carried Celine's poem, your thoughts, the story with me as we hiked around this beautiful place. I never knew her, but all of this was so strongly on my heart and in my head. I am so grateful Kit. All the gifts. Miss Bell [our favorite 8th grade English teacher; if only we could find her on facebook!], you, and your drawing me in to poetry as a portal to the Divine. You have lost too many dear dear friends to cancer. I look forward to meeting Celine. I really do. Thank you for this. I hiked like I wanted to live. Really live. Like this is the moment to really live.

"My hiking mantra was "I want to touch water and wood" it was so wonderful. It changed everything. I touched them and they touched me. Again so grateful."

A couple of facebook friends referred to this as
Joni's Sound of Music photo.
I was also thinking "Salutation to the Sun"
or maybe Ralph Waldo Emerson!

Let me also take this opportunity to say Happy Birthday to Joni [and her twin brother Terry] who each and every single day lives out the true meaning of worship and adore -- not to mention adorable! Thanks, dear Joni for locating the beauty in every hour and passing that knowledge on to the rest of us who might miss it otherwise. You are a blessing! Best Friends For Life!


To the read the posts referred to by Joni,
including the rest of Celine's poem,
please click on the following posts:

August 29th ~ All Roots and Reasons

September 14th ~ Ever the Best of Friends

Friday, September 16, 2016


Waiting for the Harvest Moon
to Rise Above the Treeline

Under the Harvest Moon

Under the harvest moon,
When the soft silver
Drips shimmering
Over the garden nights,
Death, the gray mocker,
Comes and whispers to you
As a beautiful friend
Who remembers.

Under the summer roses
When the flagrant crimson
Lurks in the dusk
Of the wild red leaves,
Love, with little hands,
Comes and touches you
With a thousand memories,
And asks you
Beautiful, unanswerable questions.

by Carl Sandburg, 1878 - 1967
beloved American writer, editor, poet
winner of three Pulitzer Prizes

Thanks Carl Sandburg for reminding us that
Summer and Autumn are both full of memories.
Summer whispers to us of Love, Autumn of Death.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Ever the Best and More

A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte (1884 - 86)
Georges Seurat, French Post-Impressionist Painter (1859 – 91)
@ Art Institute of Chicago

Les Poseuses (The Models)
Seurat's Companion Painting
@ Barnes Foundation, Philadelphia
I never tire of admiring these
two companion paintings side by side!

[As well as any number of clever parodies,
such as this one by Matt Wuerker @ Politico]


~ Kitti & Celine ~ Labor Day Weekend 1987 ~
In Chicago to see Sunday in the Park with George
"Ever the best of friends; ain't us, Pip?"

More about Celine & Sunday in the Park With George
Recently Posted @ The Fortnightly Kitti Carriker

September 14th ~ Ever the Best of Friends

August 29th ~ All Roots and Reasons


More Summer Reading
Recently Posted @Kitti's Book List

September ~ Religion and Politics

August ~ Politics and Religion

July ~ 443 Robinson

June ~ "Sometimes a girl just needs to read a good book!"

Sunday, September 11, 2016

The Twain

Twin Towers Medallion & Titanic Medallion

The Convergence of the Twain
by Thomas Hardy (1840-1928)

(Lines on the loss of the "Titanic")

In a solitude of the sea
Deep from human vanity,
And the Pride of Life that planned her, stilly couches she.

Steel chambers, late the pyres
Of her salamandrine fires,
Cold currents thrid, and turn to rhythmic tidal lyres.

Over the mirrors meant
To glass the opulent
The sea-worm crawls—grotesque, slimed, dumb, indifferent.

Jewels in joy designed
To ravish the sensuous mind
Lie lightless, all their sparkles bleared and black and blind.

Dim moon-eyed fishes near
Gaze at the gilded gear
And query: "What does this vaingloriousness down here?". . .

Well: while was fashioning
This creature of cleaving wing,
The Immanent Will that stirs and urges everything

Prepared a sinister mate
For her—so gaily great—
A Shape of Ice, for the time fat and dissociate.

And as the smart ship grew
In stature, grace, and hue
In shadowy silent distance grew the Iceberg too.

Alien they seemed to be:
No mortal eye could see
The intimate welding of their later history.

Or sign that they were bent
By paths coincident
On being anon twin halves of one August event,

Till the Spinner of the Years
Said "Now!" And each one hears,
And consummation comes, and jars two hemispheres.

. . . compare to . . .

The Convergence of the Twain
by Simon Armitage (b 26 May 1963)

[about the tragic events of September 11th]

Here is an architecture of air.
Where dust has cleared,
nothing stands but free sky, unlimited and sheer.

Smoke's dark bruise
has paled, soothed
by wind, dabbed at and eased by rain, exposing the wound.

Over the spoil of junk,
rescuers prod and pick,
shout into tangled holes. What answers back is aftershock.

All land lines are down.
Reports of mobile phones
are false. One half-excoriated Apple Mac still quotes the Dow Jones.

Shop windows are papered
with faces of the disappeared.
As if they might walk from the ruins - chosen, spared.

With hindsight now we track
the vapour-trail of each flight-path
arcing through blue morning, like a curved thought.

And in retrospect plot
the weird prospect
of a passenger plane beading an office-block.

But long before that dawn,
with those towers drawing
in worth and name to their full height, an opposite was forming,

a force
still years and miles off,
yet moving headlong forwards, locked on a collision course.

Then time and space
contracted, so whatever distance
held those worlds apart thinned to an instant.

During which, cameras framed
moments of grace
before the furious contact wherein earth and heaven fused.

~ Click for More Similarities between these Twin Disasters ~

Previous 9 / 11 Posts

2009: Not a Normal Day

2010: Poem for Today and Tomorrow

2010: 9 / 11 Retrospective (Fortnightly)

2011: Alabaster Cities

2012: My Country's Heart

2013: On the Eve of that Other Perfect Day

2014: Back Before 9 / 11