Monday, September 04, 2006

A remarkable Poem

Five years ago this week Ms T and I flew to the States for what we were quite positive was going to turn out to be the holiday of a lifetime. Events the following morning changed all our lives; ending some three thousand prematurely and fully raising the curtain on a war of contrasting beliefs which we may not see the end of this century.

Occasionally I think: this is the one that does for us all, but then that's what participants and bystanders have thought about most wars for centuries.

We were staying in a small hotel in the Nob Hill district of San Francisco, which wasn't en suite. I was padding back from the loo and I could hear people's TV's on, talking about some sort of air crash. I'd promised Ms T that I'd try to cold turkey off my news addiction but on the telly went and we sat with the rest of the world and watched it all live.

Eventually we tore ourselves away and went to have breakfast with stunned and quiet Americans. We walked into town, to find one of the most vibrant cities in the world deserted and the shops shut or closing.

Bars that had the previous night shown American football now all had TV news on in the corner, with the same dreadful set of images. A transistor radio relayed the words of a president utterly at sea. He got into his stride later, but for those hours it felt like the World's most powerful country was in a panicked spin.

Even though I was in the States at the time I've always found it easier to empathise with Americans generally rather than the people in the Towers; not sure why - too big a leap of imagination for me to make.

That was until today when I came across this extraordinary poem by Simon Armitage, which will no doubt become famous in the weeks to come.{bc1915ab-648e-4fb8-94ef-12f9747146a7}/{bca8e807-2006-4fde-93e3-d9127254014f}/outoftheblue.pdf

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