To this very day


In the perfect stillness, in the quiet,
over the waste, beyond the silence
you move. Movement is everywhere:
through the smoke, through the noise,
past the barriers and into the chaos,
to this very day.

There is no God but Allah,
but this day brooks no negation:
He is God!
And with the blades of perfidy
lodged in the backs of His Mountains,
His Prophet weeps down upon you
and holds His arms out wide.
You, you innocents,
you are in your perfection perfect
and will remain that way forever,
of this there is no doubt—
even after we have long forgot you.


The terrorist strikes of 9/11/2001 were a heinous act of betrayal of the true, peace-loving nature of Islam by a band of despicable, evil people. For its sense of hypocrisy in twisting religious beliefs to validate evil actions, it ranks equal to the pulpit driven justifications of slavery in the Antebellum South and the Thirty Years War perpetrated by the religious fanatics of Europe. There is no way that 9/11 should be ascribed to religious tenets: it can only be ascribed to an ego driven lust of power and terror.

As the years slip by, the truth is we forget the victims more completely. Yes we invoke their memories on each anniversary, but as a single identity: the victims of that day’s terrible acts, the reason and the justification of everything that came thereafter. But we do not remember them, the individuals, the people, those ones who, each and every one, had lives and loves and hopes and fears and deserve to be remembered as individuals, not as any government’s or generation’s justification.

That is what To this very day is about and I thank you for reading it. I sincerely hope you have enjoyed it and I humbly appreciate your visiting the Book of Pain. As always, I look forward to your comments.

The photograph is of the flag that flies from my company’s flagpole. For more photography, please visit the Book of Bokeh.


Poem and notes © 2013 by John Etheridge; photograph © 2014 by John Etheridge; all rights reserved. The poem and accompanying notes are licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 Unported License. This applies to all original written work found on this site, unless noted otherwise. The photograph is not licensed for use or reproduction in any way, unless so granted in writing by the copyright owner.



Filed under Poetry

11 responses to “To this very day

  1. those individuals and all the children that lost their parents

    • Exactly. Whenever I visit ground zero I still see in my mind’s eyes the images of that day more than I will ever see the new buildings that replaced the Twin Towers. Those beautiful lost souls, those sad, broken hearts…

  2. Such an awesome remembrance of those individuals who not only lost but gave their lives that gruesome day! Thank you so much!

    • Thank you so very, very much! This is a poem that means a lot to me and it did not come easy to get it where it is. As Baha’is we have a unique view of Islam that is untypical in the western world: we see it for its beauty and grandeur unmarred by the deeds of a fanatical few. Most westerners see only the insane actions of the criminal few. Oftentimes, as I try to explain to people the difference, I use the analogy, “Would you judge Christianity by what Germany, then one of the most religious countries in the world, did during the Holocaust?” Still, it is a hard row to hoe.

      • I totally agree with you. I had one person tell me that “Muhammad tells them in His book to “convert or kill”! I was flabbergasted because not only had she not understood the context, she also hadn’t understood the Revelation was during a violent time. I said that I’d read the Quran and lovingly told her that she might want to read for herself. I pray for her every day. Thank you, dear friend, your reading of my work means so very much to me!

  3. Barbara Minor

    Beautiful…I can feel the wretchedness in my heart; smell the smoldering steel as my eyes follow your words. I became very still inside as the poem reminds me of that day; where I was, what I was doing, how crisp and clear the weather was. Thanks John

    • Barbara, dear, thank you so very much! When I visit ground zero that is how I feel, my memories are there, still, to this very day. Such a tragedy on a human scale that we can all relate to…

  4. Great tribute to remember the tragedy. Beautifully written…

    • Thank you so very much! There are hundreds of 9/11 poems, but I wanted one that spoke of the heart and the loss in the reality of what happened. Such beautiful people..such courage, bravery and strength. Thank you again!

  5. Passion, good words: I find both, here, at the Book of Pain blog. I appreciate your good heart, John. There is an expression that I work with when I attempt to encourage men: “Men need to find their voice.” John we are blessed to hear your voice, because you have something worthwhile to say. Don’t lose your voice, bro.