I know that each generation has an event that changed everything. Or weeks or months or years which changed everything. Pearl Harbor. Fort Sumter. The Nazi invasion of one's home town in Europe. Hiroshima. The Titanic. The Lusitania. The Maine. Pogroms. The Influenza Epidemic. The scalping of an entire family. The Concentration Camp. The Internment Camp. The Refugee Camp. Ethnic Cleansing. There is no end to these horrors that stretch back beyond written history or even oral tradition. The Day That Changed The World.
And children do pick up on the fear. I remember the Cuban Missal Crisis, not because I watched the news or understood anything about Russia or politics, but because I remember coming downstairs from my afternoon nap to find the unusual sight of my parents watching television during the daytime. And they were worried about something. I had never before seen my dad scared. I was made aware that the world had its horrors and that my parents could be powerless to protect me.
I wrote a number of poems on 9-12. They are called The Day That Changed The World. This one is a response to fear. I have not edited or rewritten these poems. They just are.
What We Imagine
Nancy A. Bekofske
Our child is in the white hospital.
There are tubes and alien machines surrounding him.
We watch and wait.
There is red blood, vivid on the white
Like a beautiful rose.
No, our child is playing with friends.
There is coughing.
There is headache.
Our child goes to bed.
Our child breaks out in death.
No, our child is in the school room
There is a blinding light,
Wisdom is not so enlightening as this light.
There is a flash of heat.
There is ash.
No, our child is called.
Our child bravely leaves his only home
His only family.
Our child is trained to kill.
Our child falls, he thinks of home, He thinks no more.
No, our child wakes up in the morning.
Our child sees the rain.
Our child remembers the old life,
The days before fear.
Our child awakes in the morning.
Our child imagines
There is no one to protect him.