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Sins of our Fathers

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Driving down the interstate

On a dreary gray morning

I watch the slow arc

Of wind shield wipers

Back and forth. . .

Back and forth. . .

One slow swipe at the time.

The slick pavement stretches

Out endlessly before me.

A black snake curving and winding,

Beckoning me forward, beckoning

Me on to a destination I’m familiar with.

But it’s not a place I know.

It’s not a place I want to know.

It’s a place I’ve been forced to know.

It’s a place we’ve all been forced to know.

A place given to us as a birthright,

A birthright we’ve unwillingly inherited,

Pushed upon us in the space of hours

In order to send a chilling message:

“You’re not invincible.”

Suddenly I feel the fear and despair,

See the clouds of smoke

Billowing from the towers,

And hear the roar as the building collapses.

And I know, I suddenly know that

The sins of our fathers have become

The problems, the sins of

The sons and of the daughters.

Are we to be punished

For the sins of our fathers?

A sin that isn’t a sin.

It’s only a sin to him.

A sin that wasn’t a sin

But an answer to a cry for help.

The response of a people

Became an excuse for a holy war.

A jihad is what they call it.

We are them, and they are us.

People of the book to be

Treated with respect,

And yet,

And yet seven long years have passed,

Dragging on agonizingly slow,

So slow, but the death toll

Rises so fast. Everyday more boys,

Mere boys, die because people of the book

Are fighting people of the book.

Fighting a war whose origins lie

In a time when those who died

Weren’t even alive.

A country is laid to waste

And a dictator displaced,

But what has really been accomplished?

Nothing is resolved or will ever be resolved.

Bombs continue to go off and

Buildings crumble and fall.

The death toll continues to rise,

Its ranks swelled with the lives

Of so many innocent boys,

Fathers, mothers, husbands, wives,

Sons, and daughters. . . people

Fighting with a conviction to end

This jihad that’s laid waste to much

Without mending or solving a thing.

And I realize, I realize

That even if it were to end now,

That it won’t truly end with us.

The black snake will stretch forth

Laying out a path for us to travel.

A one way path to destruction

Where the beginning is the end

And the end is the beginning.

The phoenix will rise from

The ashes of a country laid to waste,

And our sons and daughters

Will be punished for the sins of their fathers.



The Twin Towers were attacked on September 11, 2001. This poem was written in 2008, 7 years after the attack.

Comments (1)

This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

I enjoyed the driving force of this poem, letting us know the futility inherent in our nature. I posted this quote elsewhere, but it begs repeating. "Only the dead know the end of war." - George Santayana
And we are all someone's child, and...

I enjoyed the driving force of this poem, letting us know the futility inherent in our nature. I posted this quote elsewhere, but it begs repeating. "Only the dead know the end of war." - George Santayana
And we are all someone's child, and many of us shall be the fathers, and mothers of those to follow... and on and on...

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