Riding The Elevator into the Sky

by Marinka on September 11, 2008

I struggled with today’s post because I wanted to say so much about September 11th, and yet, I wanted to observe the silence.

In the end, I’m taking the easy way out, taking the lead (ok, maybe stealing) from MUG. Poems very rarely speak to me, but this one did. And it said “Post me! Post me!”

By Anne Sexton (1975)

As the fireman said:
Don’t book a room over the fifth floor
in any hotel in New York.
They have ladders that will reach further
but no one will climb them.
As the New York Times said:
The elevator always seeks out
the floor of the fire
and automatically opens
and won’t shut.
These are the warnings
that you must forget
if you’re climbing out of yourself.
If you’re going to smash into the sky.

Many times I’ve gone past
the fifth floor,
cranking upward,
but only once
have I gone all the way up.
Sixtieth floor:
small plants and swans bending
into their grave.
Floor two hundred:
mountains with the patience of a cat,
silence wearing its sneakers.
Floor five hundred:
messages and letters centuries old,
birds to drink,
a kitchen of clouds.
Floor six thousand:
the stars,
skeletons on fire,
their arms singing.
And a key,
a very large key,
that opens something –
some useful door –
somewhere –
up there.

One year ago ...

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{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

Kylie w Warszawie September 11, 2008 at 5:19 am

Beautiful. I didn’t post today in observance. My family and I were in DC that day.

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Madge September 11, 2008 at 6:46 am

this is perfect and sitting right next to silent observance….

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Z September 11, 2008 at 6:49 am

Such a great poem. Perfect.

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Insta-mom September 11, 2008 at 7:27 am

I have no words. Just my thoughts, with you and so many others today.

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Suzie September 11, 2008 at 8:01 am

That poem gave me chills

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sofie September 11, 2008 at 8:45 am

Thank you for this. Sexton was a genius, and you are not too shabby yourself, Marinka.

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Aunt Becky September 11, 2008 at 8:56 am

What a powerful poem. Wow.

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Wendy September 11, 2008 at 11:55 am

Words fail me today. It’s still all too much.

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Mama Ginger Tree September 11, 2008 at 2:51 pm

It feels like yesterday. Really. I can’t even imagine being in New York. What a fantastic poem.

I also loved your previous 9/11 post.

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sdl September 11, 2008 at 6:36 pm

That is so beautiful–thank you.

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ms. changes pants while driving September 12, 2008 at 2:23 pm

i don’t have anything to say. so i’ll just say hi. thank you for posting this.

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