Saturday, September 13, 2008
Alone on a hill
a young boy stood
deep in the Appalachians
at the lakes and valleys below
the land his father and grandfather
roamed to fish and hunt.
They were gone now
and all that remained
were their dreams and stories.
The simple life, the good life
of the poor folk and their kin
soon to be a memory
kept only by the stones
that might survive.
Across the ocean
it was coming without a sound
carried by the sad wind
and the dark rain.
He could hear the echoes.
In a far off city
in a dim room lit only by flickers of neon
a woman dreamt of the babe
that would never leave her womb.
Too late she waited, too long to say yes
and now that life would never be.
The sunlight had been gone for weeks
covered by the somber grey dust
left to blanket the earth.
We all knew it would come one day.
Yet, we continued to live as enemies
stealing each other's land and food
wiping the sky with dead promises
building the Tower of Babel
once again without a ladder to climb
killing for the right God to worship~
while the Only One wept.
We grew tired of trying
tired of the machines and computers
we'd built to make life easy.
Now they laughed at us
with garbled voices
closing down to punish us
for handing them the burden,
holding our children for ransom
our children . . .
who couldn't live without them anymore.
And when all the lights went out
and it was finished
the earth was silent
dark and silent
no green fields, no sunlight
just the lonely stones
that still remained
the sounds of the creature called man
who once had walked the earth.
Joanne Cucinello 2008
Monday, September 1, 2008
There from our roof-top balcony, in the little town of Sant' Agata ~
Sorrento was quietly napping below in the afternoon September sun. It was the second day of our first trip abroad and we'd finally settled in. The enchanting villa opened its arms and enveloped us in old world charm. Its cool marble steps invited bare feet as we laughed our way down to the welcoming pool of icy blue.
Wine in hand, cheese and bread, fresh picked figs and long-cured olives . . . we were in heaven, our family, relaxed and breathing in a luxury we'd only dreamed of. Oh, how I'd wished at that moment my dad were alive to see this. We'd promised each other "one day . . . Italy"! But he didn't make it and yet, I could still imagine him smiling there under a fig tree, biting into his favorite fruit, euphoric as always.
We only had a week and even that was hard to save for, so we relished every breath of Italian air and the scent of lemons that hung in the breeze that day. Four of my five grown children and their partners, my brother and his wife, and one of my nephews, twelve of us in all, were pouring freely. And as we laughed and splashed, drank and hugged, off in the distance we heard the phone.
Who dared to interrupt our carefree romp? Who is calling now? And who will leave his wine to climb the marble steps and fetch that blasted phone?
It was my husband who took the message from New York. He couldn't decipher what my niece was screaming about and called my brother to take the phone and calm his daughter, saying she's hysterical, screaming about terrorists or something. My brother made his way up the marble steps and took the phone. Moments later, he came grey-faced to the doorway and handed the screaming phone to his wife. "They bombed the World Trade Center . . . New York is under attack!" At the other end of the phone was his daughter terrified and trying to speak of the horror flashing across the News on this tragic September morn.
Numbness and disbelief grabbed at our hearts. Close family and friends were there in New York, our oldest son and his wife among them. They were safe for the moment, but no one knew what was coming next. We shook and held each other as my brother's glass hit the marble steps and the red wine spilled. Blood was spilling too from the crumbled Towers back home. In an instant all had changed. Our joy turned into grief in this happy sunny place as the whole world started spinning. Our hearts, trapped now across the ocean, would never be the same.
There was no way home for days and days. Our efforts were useless. Yet in every cafe' and on every corner of this little village, Italians were weeping, offering comfort, shaking their heads with pity when they realized who we were, the Americans from New York, mourning as if we were standing already at the open grave site . . . lowering the coffins of the innocents.
Joanne Cucinello 2008
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