Race for the Sky

Richard Pearson Thomas

To the Towers Themselves


They were never the favorites,
Not the Carmen Miranda Chrysler
Nor Rockefeller’s magic boxes
Nor the Empire, which I think would have killed us all if she fell.
They were the two young dumb guys,
Beer drinking
Downtown MBA’s
Swaggering across the skyline,
Not too bright.
Now that they are gone,
They are like young men
Lost at war,
Not having had their life yet,
Not having grown wise and softened with air and time.
They are lost like
Cannon fodder
Like farm boys throughout time
Stunned into death,
Not knowing what hit them
And beloved
By the weeping mothers left behind.

How My Life Has Changed

(Hilary North)

I can no longer flirt with Lou.
I can no longer dance with Mayra.
I can no longer eat brownies with Suzanne Y.
I can no longer meet the deadline with Mark.
I can no longer talk to George about his daughter.
I can no longer drink coffee with Rich.
I can no longer make a good impression on Chris.
I can no longer smile at Paul L.
I can no longer confide in Lisa.
I can no longer work on a project with Donna R.
I can no longer get to know Yolanda.
I can no longer call the client with Nick.
I can no longer contribute to the book drive organized by Karen.
I can no longer hang out with Millie.
I can no longer give career advice to Suzanne P.
I can no longer laugh with Donna G.
I can no longer watch Mary Ellen cut through the bull.
I can no longer drink beer with Paul B.
I can no longer have a meeting with Dave W.
I can no longer leave a message with Andrea.
I can no longer gossip with Anna.
I can no longer run into Dave P. at the vending machine.
I can no longer call Steve about my computer.
I can no longer compliment Lorenzo.
I can no longer hear Herman’s voice.
I can no longer trade voice mails with Norman.
I can no longer ride the elevator with Barbara.
I can no longer say hello to Steven every morning.
I can no longer see the incredible view from the 103rd Floor of the South Tower.
I can no longer take my life for granted.

don’t look for me anymore

(Alicia Vasquez)

don’t look for me anymore
it’s late and you are tired
your feet ache standing atop the ruins of our twins
day after day searching for a trace of me
don’t look for me anymore
your eyes are burning red
your hands cut bleeding sifting through rock
it’s my turn, I’m worried about you
watching as you sift through the ruins of what was
day after day in the soot and the rain
I ache in knowing you suffer my death
don’t look for me anymore
hold my children as I would
hold my sisters, hold my brothers
hold my children for me
since I can’t bring them up with the same
love you gave me
and I’ll rest assured
you’re watching my children
don’t look for me anymore
go home and rest…

At the River

(trad.)Aaron Copland

Shall we gather by the river, where bright angels feet have trod,
With its crystal tide forever flowing by the throne of God.
Yes we’ll gather by the river, the beautiful, the beautiful river,
Gather with the saints by the river that flows by the throne of God.
Soon we’ll reach the shining river, soon our pilgrimage will cease,
Soon our happy hearts will quiver with the melody of peace.
Yes we’ll gather by the river, the beautiful, the beautiful river,
Gather with the saints by the river that flows by the throne of God.

Songs of War

Charles Ives

In Flanders Fields

(John McCrae)

In Flanders fields the poppies blow;
Between the crosses, row on row
That mark our place;
And in the sky the larks still bravely singing fly,
Scarce heard amidst the guns below
We are the dead.
Short days ago we lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved,
And now we lie in Flanders fields
Take up our quarrel with the foe!
To you from falling hands we throw, we throw the torch.
Be yours to hold it high
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep though the poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

He is There!

(Charles Ives)

Fifteen years ago today a little Yankee, little yankee boy
Marched beside his grandaddy in the decoration day parade
The village band would play those old war tunes, and the G.A.R. would shout,
“Hip Hip Hooray!” in the same old way, as it sounded on the old camp ground.

That boy has sailed o’er the ocean, he is there, he is there, he is there.

He’s fighting for the right, but when it comes to might,

He is there, he is there, he is there;  as the Allies beat up all the warlords!

He’ll be there, he’ll be there, and then the world will shout the Battle cry of Freedom

Tenting on a new camp ground.

Fifteen years ago today a little Yankee, with a German name
Heard the tale of “forty-eight” why his Grandaddy joined Uncle Sam,
His fathers fought that medieval stuff, and he will fight it now,
“Hip Hip Hooray” this is the day, when he’ll finish up that aged job.

That boy has sailed (etc.)

There’s a time in ev’ry life, when it’s do or die, and our yankee boy
Does his bit that we may live, in a world where all may have a “say.”
He’s conscious always of his country’s aim, which is Liberty for all,
“Hip Hip Hooray’ is all he’ll say, as he marches to the Flanders front.

That boy has sailed (etc.)

Tenting tonight, tenting on a new camp ground.
For it’s rally round the flag, boys, rally once again. Shouting the Battle cry of Freedom!

Tom Sails Away

(Charles Ives)

Scenes from my childhood are with me,
I’m in the lot behind our house upon the hill,
A spring day’s sun is setting,
Mother with Tom in her arms is coming towards the garden;
The lettuce rows are showing green.
Thinner grows the smoke o’er the town,
Stronger comes the breeze from the ridge,
‘Tis after six, the whistles have blown,
The milk train’s gone down the valley
Daddy is coming up the hill from the mill,
We run down the lane to meet him.
But today! In freedom’s cause Tom sailed away
For over there, over there, over there!
Scenes from my childhood are floating before my eyes.

How Could I Ever Know?

(Marsha Norman)Lucy Simon

How could I know I would have to leave you?
How could I know I would hurt you so?
You were the one I was born to love.
Oh, how could I ever know?
How could I ever know?

How can I say to go on without me?
How, when I know you still need me so?
How can I say not to dream about me?
How could I ever know?
How could I ever know?

Forgive me, can you forgive me, and hold me in your heart?
And find some new way to love me, now that we’re apart.

How could I know I would never hold you,
Never again in this world, but oh!
Sure as you breathe, I am there inside you
How could I ever know?
How could I ever know?

New Words

(Maury Yeston)

Look up there, high above us
In a sky of blackest silk
See how round, like a cookie
See how white, as white as milk
Call it the moon, my son
Say “moon.”
Sounds like your spoon, my son
Can you say it?
New words today, say “moon.”
Near the moon, brightly turning,
See the shining sparks of light
Each one new, each one burning
Through the darkness of the night
We call them stars, my son
Say “stars.”
That one is Mars, my son
Can you say it?
New words today, say “stars.”
As they blink all around us
Playing starry-eyed games
Who would think it astounds us
Simply naming their names.
Turn your eyes from the skies now
Turn around and look at me
There’s a light in my eyes now
And a word for what you see
We call it love, my son
Say “love.”
So hard to say, my son
It gets harder.
New words today
We’ll learn to say
Learn “moon”
Learn “stars”
Learn “love.”

What more do I need?

(Stephen Sondheim)

Once I hated this city
Now it can’t get me down
Slushy, humid, and gritty –
What a pretty town!
What, thought I, could be duller
More depressing, less gay?
Now my favorite color is gray!
A wall of rain as it turns to sleet
The lack of sun on a one-way street
I love the grime all the time
And what more do I need?
My windowpane has a lovely view
An inch of sky, and a fly or two
Why, I can see half a tree
And what more do I need?
The dust is thick and it’s galling
It simply can’t be excused
In winter even the falling snow looks used.
My windowpane may not give much light
But I see you, so the view is bright
If I can love you, I’ll pay the dirt no heed
With your love, what more do I need?
Someone’s shouting for quiet,
Someone’s starting a brawl
Down the block there’s a riot
And I’ll buy it all.
Listen now, I’m ecstatic
Hold me close and be still
Hear the lovely pneumatic drill!
A subway train thunders through the Bronx
A taxicab on the corner honks
But I adore ev’ry roar
And what more do I need?
I hear a crane making street repairs
A two-ton child running wild upstairs
Steam pipes bang, sirens clang
And what more do I need?
The neighbors yell in the summer
The landlord yells in the fall
So loud I can’t hear the plumber pound the wall.
An aeroplane roars across the bay
But I can hear you as clear as day
You said you loved me above the sound and speed
With your love, what more do I need?

I never saw a moor

(Emily Dickinson) Richard Pearson Thomas

I never saw a moor
I never saw the sea
Yet know I how the heather looks,
And what a wave must be.
I never spoke with God,
Nor visited in heaven,
Yet certain am I of the spot
As if the chart were given.