Last Blue Sky of Summer

The North Tower after the fall of the South. (Photo: Lyle Owerko)

The North Tower after the fall of the South.
(Photo: Lyle Owerko)

The night of my forty-ninth birthday,
I pulled the covers over a part
of my life I knew was ending.
The next morning would be the first
on the path to my autumn,
when everything about life would change.
I awoke to a morning sky
of such infinite azure beauty,
so clean of cloud and worry
that I made a memory of it,
something I could carry
in my gray remaining years.
Mercilessly, my memory sky
was smeared by flame and smoke,
by dust and tears.
And soon I realized the selfish dread
I hid behind sleepy eyes the night
of that September 10, would
haunt me for all my days.
Always, I’ll feel a sting in my eyes
when I think of that
last blue sky of summer.

On this anniversary of the horrors of September 11, 2001, my poem addresses a loss so much less important in the grand scheme of things. I lost a bit of joy that comes every year on my birthday. And I lost the glory that was that last brilliant sky of my life’s summer. (Photo by Lyle Owerko, New York Magazine.)

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19 thoughts on “Last Blue Sky of Summer

  1. "Always it stings my eyes when I think of that last blue summer." *sigh* It's so interesting to see the different emotions everyone has tied to this date. You've really made this personal, and I can feel the loss on many levels in your words. And, on a side note, I hope you were able to enjoy a lovely birthday yesterday, Joe 🙂

  2. Everyone remembers where they were that day. The memories are still vivid even after 10 years. And on such a beautiful 'last blue sky of summer' I feel your loss and am glad you shared it. Your poem was moving and heart-felt, and it has touched me.

  3. 'Always it will sting my eyeswhen I think of thatlast blue sky of summer.'You have such a wonderful way of capturing such personal moments with your words, in a way that we can all feel. Thank you for sharing this personal moment with us.

  4. attaching it to your birthday as well i am sure it rings with memory every year…so doing the math on your age now…smiles…a belated happy birthday as well friend…you are still young…

  5. Lovely and wrenching, Joe. I too chose to post a poem about my own trauma and early recovery and then last night added something about 9/11.Every loss matters. I've said elsewhere that the spectacular as in spectacle nature of this day grinds away at us and it is very difficult to do it justice. xxxj

  6. I won't clutter this comment box with a lot of cliche–you've cut through that in your poem, and presented us with loss on a different but no less important level, finely drawn and well connected to that other loss we none of us will ever alter.

    • (apols, I pressed the ‘post comment’ button too soon!) … usually are, but it is appropriately so, ’cause it doesn’t need to be. It cuts straight to the soul searing, life changing core of that day, just as 7/7 did for us, albeit on a lesser scale (if I can be forgiven for comparing the scale of the loss of life in that way). For me it was the shock of all those ordinary folk losing that sense of sacrosanct security, for ever, that hit home hardest, as a result of both 9/11 and 7/7.

      But it ain’t going to stop me wishing you a HAPPY Birthday, Joe. Come what may, we should never allow fanatically mad men the satisfaction of subduing our ability to be happy and our capacity for joy in celebration of our gift of life.

  7. on September 10th 2001 I had to travel from our rural community to Winnipeg to officially receive “landed immigrant” status (permanent residence) in Canada – life changed for me as well as the world after that.
    Praying off any guilt you might feel for thinking of yourself – He made us this way!

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