This play may be performed by three women and five men, or up to thirty, depending upon how much a director wishes to allow actors to take multiple roles. Though drawn from contemporary events, it is a fable.
The play opens with a chorus, or ensemble, singing a Blues Song. A dancer is meant to appear throughout the story, weaving it together, even where she has no lines.
LORD GIVE US COMFORT, GIVE US PEACE;
LORD, LET ALL THESE TROUBLES ON US CEASE.
LET ALL THE STRIFE AND ALL THE WOE
VANISH LIKE THE WINTER SNOW!
LORD GIVE ME COMFORT, GIVE ME PEACE.
(Repeat as a round with only one soprano voice singing the final line)
(The Poet steps out from behind a curtain)
I’m called by countless different names,
In past storied times and places;
They describe all my innumerable faces,
Yet I still remain the same.
I tell of things men cannot see,
Of spirits in the air;
I journey here, and there, and everywhere,
And fill many a tapestry.
Some say that I forever lie,
And some that I tell what’s true,
You shall judge which of the two
To credit…ere we say goodbye.
I speak of deeds hard to imagine,
Both of evil…and of good,
Of plagues…and of the bitter wood.
* * * *
In the North Tower the brave rescuers
Continued their exhausting labors;
And when that high tower fell… were all slain.
Some say nothing could remain,
That the vast physical forces set free
Could yield nothing of the absentee,
Except a lasting grief for their pain.
Some, though, on the other hand, say
That in the collapse of the great towers,
In that moment of their brief dissolving showers,
A divine hand intervened on that day.
That He partly did transform each living soul,
Ere it departed, into a memorial thing,
To which a loved one could cling,
Thus leaving something behind to console.
Some were changed into bright stars
That looked down from on high,
Another… a breeze that compelled a kite to dance in the sky,
Or, filled a sail to a glad chorus of: “Hip hurrahs!”
Or lifted a child up on a swing.
Some abided as the hues of a sunset,
One cannot easily forget,
That tints the clouds, a moment, in the fall or the spring.
Some flew far out into the wide ocean,
Having been transformed into graceful seagulls,
And dipped their fire-singed wings during lulls
In the march of the flames in that fiery oven.
Yet once undergoing that change,
Soaring as free as a bird,
Pleas to change back could no longer be heard,
They would not make such an exchange.
Some, too, became the precious stones,
That hold up the crust of the earth,
Whose value is beyond all their worth,
And are much admired by kings for their thrones.
But far, far away on that day
Was the man who called out such evil spirits
Watching the footage with his favorites
And he felt safe in his far hideaway.
When he was shown the frightful pictures,
Of the two planes hitting the bright towers,
He felt an elation at his shatt’ring powers,
A great thrill, one exceeding other pleasures.
And he sang and he laughed and he danced,
And snorted like a pig at a trough,
Toward all of his enemies did he scoff;
And he thought that his rank was enhanced.
Wherever he saw his reflection,
Whether in a mirror, or a fine glass,
Even, in well-polished brass,
He felt a strong surge of affection.
So he passed the night in joyful revelry,
And clapped his hands at the lost towers in flames,
He made many wild extravagant claims,
His thoughts dwelt, with joy, on his late savagery.
And when the first light of dawn,
Broke through over mountains and streams,
He looked forward to more of such schemes,
To more of such deeds was he sworn.
Then he went to a millpond nearby,
To wash his hands and his face,
And to prepare a new day to embrace,
There to wounds of the past to say goodbye.
In his fine robes did he kneel,
Surrounded by friends and well wishers,
Of a sudden…in his face were deep fissures,
And upon his heart lay, heavy, a keel.
For, reflected in the pool,
Rose two sleek silver towers high,
Thrust into a bright golden sky,
As though spun from a magic spool.
The Spinner had spun them fine,
Of the richest sort of thread,
He would accept no other instead,
And He spun them as a sign.
He swathed them in a golden mist,
All glistening, and dewy as the morn,
Perfect, without fire, no longer torn,
The buildings, by the Master Spinner, were kissed.
The square, filled with flowers,
And the streets with noisy traffic,
All the movement seemed… bright, choreographic,
And, there… reaching to the sky – the Towers.
As the frightened man looked he could hear,
The gentle ringing of a thousand bells,
And tinkling laughter, friendly yells,
As come from souls without fear.
And on the near topmost floor
The windows filled with the skyline
The world below, remote, and opaline.
And rooms filled with guests once more,
There they chatted of this and of that,
Of what a new day would bring,
Of who got a shower, or a ring,
Of the Journal, or the latest book, and its plot.
Seeing all this did he tremble,
Weep… and gnash his teeth.
He swore to break up all beneath
That surface spectacle, so terrible.
He hoped to strike at this most beautiful dream,
That repaired a rent in the seam,
Of the world, and its bright slender towers...
So he plunged his hand far into the pond,
And the surface shattered and broke,
Scattered, and dispersed there, under the stroke,
But, then, was miraculously brought back from beyond.