Friday, September 08, 2006

Psalm 911

A Psalm for New York, Washington, DC and Pennsylvania

I cry out to you with a sound torn from my soul;
a sound of metal tearing;
a sound of innocence dying.
How terrible is this thing which has been thrust into the heart of the many.

Evil has risen up from its nursery and arrived full grown to destroy us;
those who pervert your very name;
who bow to false gods of hate;
who breed in the desperate a desire for destruction.

Their instrument of death is a cruel one;
they have used our own selves as a kind of cancer.
My body has been hurled against my body;
sister torn from the sky to rain destruction on brother.

And hell erupted in the sky;
And hell erupted in the sky;
And hell was thrown against the five sides of our strength;
And, yet, hell was cheated the fourth time.

Our words rained down on us like an evil snow;
like a parade held in honor of our enemy's victories.

Humans fell from the sky; Humanity fell from grace.

High places were made low;
crushed to dust that blows at our feet.
Our mighty have been struck a cleaving blow;
warriors defeated without a battle cry.

Images of horror enter my every waking moment;
burning into my eyes.
I sleep and dream, not in pictures, but in tears that do not wash,
tears that do not cool.
I awake and the sun is blocked by the smoke of a fire which burns my soul.

I have looked to the heavens and seen a terror.
I have cried to the hills and heard no relief.
I have called to the warrior and he is quiet.
I have screamed to my Lord.
I have screamed to my Lord.
I have screamed for relief.
I have screamed for vengeance.

Sing praises to the Lord, enthroned in Zion; proclaim among the nations what He has done. For He who avenges blood remembers;
He does not ignore the cry of the afflicted. Psalm 9:11-12 NIV

I cry out to you with a sound torn from my soul;
a whimper;
a sob;
a groan originating in the earth.

I cried out to the Lord
and I have seen him.

The Lord is with us in the rubble.
God has come to us in the body of the man who lifts a stone and clears a path.
The Lord is with us in the fires.
God has come to us in the hands of those who spray a healing, cooling stream.
The Lord is with us in the places of healing.
God has come to us in the mind of she who closes the wounds.
The Lord is with us in the streets.
God has come to us on the feet of the child who brings food to the grief-stricken.
The Lord is with us in the houses of worship.
God has come to us in the arms that gather us up.
The Lord is with us in our homes.
God has come to us in the lips of our loved ones who kiss us through our pain.
The Lord is with us in the places of power.
God has come to us in those whose hearts burn for justice
tempered with judgment.

I cried out to the Lord and the Lord joined me in my cry.

c 2001 Cynthia E. Huddleston 15 Sep 01


  1. Prodigal Aspersions -- Lavish Blessings on us.

  2. This is one of the most moving expressions of pain and anguish and outrage and sorrow that I have ever read.

    Beautiful writing. Thank you for singing for us all.

  3. The lines about hell in the sky, and the five sides and hell thwarted - impressive.

  4. Wow, Cynthia ... very beautifully moving ... thanks

  5. When I was in college (for the first time) one of the first things we were taught about literature was to look at the title. Always read the title.
    GREAT TITLE! I also love the use of Psalm 9:11. Maya Angelou has nothing on you.

  6. Anonymous3:05 PM

    as spooky rach said 'kick ass poetry' this is superb!

  7. This is beautiful and moving yet very honest and real. I believe there is a sweet spot in poetry inbetween pretty word poetry (I feel I am there too much, pretty, but not honest) and poetry thats almost not poetry (too honest and literal). This is the first work of yours I have read, and it resides and sings from that sweet spot.

    I hope you dont mind me annotating this. I loved it so much I wanted to dig a little deeper. All thoughts come from me simply being curious.

    I noticed three disctinct parts. The first part about the events, the second part about your reaction, and the third part on God's presence. The instances of repeated lines spoke to me, caught my attention and made sure I understood.

    In the first part I really like your use of imagery of the body and person. Heart, breed, nursery and full grown, cancer, cleaver all were fantastic.

    The second part switches imagery to a very earthy feel. Multiple times you use the image of fire, earth, hills. Again very good. Did you mean to stay consistent with the imagery in each section?

    Interesting contrast between the events that took place using imagery about the body and your reaction using earthy imagery. It almost contradicts, earthy imagery would seem to work with events, bodily imagery would seem to work with your reaction. I love it the way it is. Was it intentional?

    In the last section, I really enjoy the paring of the Lord with "the places" contrasting the paring of God with "the people of those places". God speaks to me as more intimate than Lord, just like the examples of people seem more intimate.

    I really enjoyed the use of the psalm in the middle. It seemed to turn the mood of the whole work. Did you read the psalm after you had started the work?

    It ends with a single line; I have always thought that the best poems end in a single line.

    Like I said, very beautiful, very moving, very honest, very real. Thank you so much for sharing.


Feel free to critique the poetry. I employ a sophisticated thick hide technology.