Friday, September 09, 2011

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 tom 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 bum for justice
tempered with judgment.

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

Cyn Huddleston 09/12/2001


I wrote this on the day after the attacks, when watching the images had burned them into my retinas.  I needed some way to think about it.  I started to write like the old psalms, in the cadence of those poets.  About halfway through, at the place where you see it, I decided to see what the Psalm was at 9:11.  It says those words in the version I read.  My psalm had to change.  It was now a psalm of 9/12.  Any more violence done would cause there to be more afflicted.  I looked around to see how we were coping.  I saw response to violence with help and comfort.  I prayed we would have more of that and less of violence. 

I still am praying. 

In 2001, I read this in church to a group of battered folks and one state trooper who just walked in late and stood in the back, ready to go. 

This Sunday, we will have our New Beginnings Sunday.  It's what we have always called our first day of the new sunday school year.  It's Kyndall Rothaus Renfro's first day to preach to us as our pastor.

Here's to new beginnings for us all.


  1. Cyn, I think this is a beautiful tribute. It speaks of so many things to me, maybe mostly of the presence of God in our sufferings, both nationally and personally. . .

  2. You continue to amaze me.

    Best on your newest beginnings.


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