Modern War Poetry
This collection is dedicated to the victims and events of September 11th, 2001—those of the World Trade Center, The Pentagon, Shanksville Pennsylvania, and all those who defend liberty and justice. Not since the attack on Pearl Harbor have Americans known war on our homeland, and most of us cannot remember what it is to be at war.
World War II poet and Nobel Prize winner Csezlaw Milosz felt that his greatest duty as a poet was to create a record and to serve as witness to the events he had endured as a Lithuanian living in Poland.
And now we are at a great crossroads in time. This has not happened, ever, in the history of the world, when civilization has lost its place, and the weak seek to terrorize the innocent. I hope that our nation rises from its sleep, and that we can, as a people, remember what our fathers knew, what their fathers knew, and what the young have never had to know.
As President Bush said, we have a quiet, unyielding anger, but this must turn to resolve, so that there will again be a time when whole generations cannot remember war.
We will never forget the images in our minds of the U.S.S. George Washington, defending New York Harbor; F16 fighter jets protecting our skies, or the courageous spirit displayed by the firefighters, rescue workers, and police. Like Csezlaw Milosz, we are the witnesses of this generation, and it is our duty to record it well.
Poetry can capture the horror, the betrayal, anger, the great sadness, and the great triumph of spirit we know and will know. We must serve the future and create the record, the history--and ultimately, the emotions--of this time. We are no longer 'Generation X', and we have heard our calling.
Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty, so let us mark our words carefully, for our children and for our posterity. Let them never forget what we have seen, what we have felt and what we have written—what happened on September 11th, 2001.
- Photography by William Ames
Food for thought? Join the discussion »