Poetry Porch: Letter to 2002 

 

December 2001 

Dear Friends, 

This has been the longest autumn of my life. Since the towers fell in September, my days have not changed significantly, nor have I made new plans or vows or altered the tasks of my week. But the days have been lengthy and the weeks have often seemed endless. 
          I found some consolation in a photograph that I had taken from the World Trade Center Marriott in October 2000. We were in New York to visit our daughter, a committed East Village person, who chided us for choosing to stay in the financial district, so far away from what she loved about New York City. The price was right! we said, and the accommodations generous on the weekends when the business clientele had all gone home. We spent a whole Sunday in that area of town, walking beside the river, taking the ferry to Staten Island and back, breakfasting opposite the Statue of Liberty. The photograph I took preserved the image of a small Greek Orthodox church holding its own in a parking lot on Liberty Street beneath the towering office buildings. The church has since been buried. The archdiocese hopes to find the icons that were stored in the church in a vault. 
          Recently, I once more taught George Orwell's short essay, "Shooting an Elephant," and was struck all over again by the intensity of its narrative. It is difficult not to internalize the questions he asks. Will I, or will my country, suddenly confront an elephant that must be shot, as Orwell did during British occupation of Burma? Will I have to support a shooting, or will I have to witness an execution that I will regret for the rest of my days? And can I avoid looking like a fool? 
          I invite you to share your thoughts with readers and contributors at the Poetry Porch. First deadline: December 2001. Updates: January and June 2002.

Thank you, and best wishes, 

Joyce Wilson 
 


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