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")

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

XI
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]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


~ Click for More Similarities between these Twin Disasters ~

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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

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