Editor’s Note: The poem below was written in 2001 and appears in the self-published book, Through Our Eyes: A Tapestry of Words and Images in Response to September 11. Printed and distributed in 2002, the book was the result of an independent, volunteer documentary project organized by a journalist and several friends. The author’s bio was written in 2002 and has not been updated.
Nicholas J. Meyerhofer, 52, is one of the most inspiring and honorable professors you’ll ever meet. He also knows how to whip up some delicious cheesecake! The father of two was born in Osage, Iowa. He now lives with his wife in Flagstaff, Arizona, where he teaches at Northern Arizona University. Nick, who travels frequently, was in Flagstaff when terrorists struck America. He wrote his poem, near the end of September.
September 11, 2001
The world evolves.
Except on rare occasions
When normalcy implodes
Like very tall buildings
And the inexplicable demands explanation
As our children attempt to understand
What cannot be understood:
How does such madness originate?
Is the smell of death universal?
Will there always be heroes and victims?
Is it only the innocent who suffer?
Beacons have been lost
And the compass of religion
Tugs toward terror.
Of this diorama of disaster
Return us to safe haven?
Is it irresponsible not to kill
In response to unthinkable horror?
The contemplation of catastrophe
Bludgeons the brain and engenders
Many questions but very few answers.