July 27, 2004

Poem for WTC survivors


by Pamela Spiro Wagner

I wasn�t there, I�m sorry.
I would have helped if I could
but I was at home, watching television,
eating a tuna fish sandwich or orange sherbet.
I was answering the phone, opening the mail,
I was still in bed sleeping.
My life is quiet. I stay home mostly.
I solve crossword puzzles, I read,
I play with the cat.
I don�t go out often
though I do sometimes long for company.
I guess you know what that�s like, now,
the hunger that starts deep in your fingertips
penetrates to your bones, how you ache
for the touch of some other human being�
Ah, here I am telling you my troubles
as if they compared to yours.
But you see, that�s what happens
when you haven�t survived such awfulness.
I didn�t feel the weight of calamity on my skin,
I didn�t smell or hear or see anything
but what the cameras packaged
for my little screen.
I wasn�t there. I will *never* understand.
You must accept this: you are alone
in your terrible particular knowledge.
It is yours, a burden
I cannot share.
I�m sorry. I�m sorry.
I wasn�t there.

Posted by pamwagg at July 27, 2004 03:11 AM | TrackBack


It seems to me that each poem that you have written recently has become more and more personal, reflecting the legacy of "confessional poets" like Sylvia Plath, although I much prefer your more straightforward approach to her weighty and many times oblique symbolism.
This poem is fresh and real and cuts to the bone.
To paraphrase Plath,"Pam, you do it well. You do it till it feels like hell."
Compare it to your prize winning "The Prayers of the Mathematician", a tour de force of universality, and I think you may be surprised at the evolution of your style that will go on forever. Congratulations,my friend, Paula

Posted by: Paula Kirkpatrick at July 27, 2004 01:35 PM

beautiful poem! keep up ur spirits. i pray for u. love. puzli

Posted by: puzli at July 27, 2004 12:49 PM

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