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“This will not stand:”
found poem with repetitive chorus in three generations,
September 11th, 2001

by Rita D. Costello

GRENE’S OEDIPUS:
of blood by blood, since it is murder guilt which holds our city in this destroying storm

BUSH:
today, our fellow citizens, our way of life, our very
freedom came under attack in a series of deliberate and deadly terrorist acts
the victims were in airplanes or in their offices--

GRENE’S OEDIPUS:
you may see them one with another, like birds
swift on the wing, quicker than fire unmastered, speeding
away to the coast of the Western God.

FAGLES’ OEDIPUS:
like seabirds winging west, outracing the day’s fire

BUSH:
thousands of lives were suddenly ended by evil, despicable
acts of terror; the pictures of airplanes flying
into buildings, fires burning, huge structures collapsing, have filled us
with disbelief, terrible sadness and a quiet, unyielding anger

GRENE’S OEDIPUS:
in the unnumbered deaths of its people the city dies

BUSH:
these acts of mass murder were intended to frighten our nation into chaos . . . . America was targeted for attack because we're the brightest beacon for freedom and opportunity in the world
and no one will keep that light from shining

GOULD’S OEDIPUS:
and with their deaths unnumbered dies the city

BUSH:
today, our nation saw evil, the very worst of human nature

GRENE’S OEDIPUS:
and justly you will see in me an ally, a
champion of my country and the God

BUSH:
immediately following the first attack, I implemented our emergency
response plans; our military is powerful, and it's prepared; our
first priority is to get help . . . and to take every precaution

GOULD’S OEDIPUS:
a towered city or a ship is nothing if desolate
and no man lives within

FAGLES’ OEDIPUS:
if anyone knows the murderer is a stranger, a man
from alien soil, come, speak up

BUSH:
the search is underway for those who are behind these evil acts; I've directed
the full resources for our intelligence and law enforcement
communities to find those responsible and bring them to justice

GRENE’S OEDIPUS:
but if you shall keep silence, if perhaps some one of you, to shield
a guilty friend, or for his own sake
shall reject my words--hear what I shall do then:

BUSH:
we will make no distinction between
the terrorists who committed these acts and those who harbor them

GRENE’S OEDIPUS:
I command all to drive him from their homes, since he is our pollution

GOULD’S OEDIPUS:
and this curse, too, against the one who did it, whether alone
in secrecy, or with others: may he bear out his life
unblest and evil! I pray this, too

BUSH:
tonight I ask for your prayers for all those who grieve, for the children
whose worlds have been shattered, for all whose sense
of safety and security has been threatened. And I pray

GOULD’S OEDIPUS:
this prayer against all those who disobey . . . oh, let them die victims
of this plague, or of something worse. . . . we the obedient,
may Justice, our ally, and all the gods, be always on our side!

BUSH:
unite in our resolve for justice and peace; America has stood
down enemies before, and we will do so this time. . . . We go forward to defend
freedom and all that is good and just in our world; thank you,
good night and God bless America