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3 Oct 2014
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"The Convergence of the Twain"
by Millennium Poet, Simon Armitage

Simon Armitage is the Millennium Poet. Andrew Motion, the Poet Laureate, read us the poem he wrote for the Westminster memorial service for September 11.

Now, three months on, he does the same - using the structure from a poem by Thomas Hardy with the same name.

The Convergence of the Twain
Here is an architecture of air.
Where dust has cleared,
nothing stands but free sky, unlimited and sheer.

Smoke's dark bruise
has paled, soothed
by wind, dabbed at and eased by rain, exposing the wound.

Over the spoil of junk,
rescuers prod and pick,
shout into tangled holes. What answers back is aftershock.

All land lines are down.
Reports of mobile phones
are false. One half-excoriated Apple Mac still quotes the Dow Jones.

Shop windows are papered
with faces of the disappeared.
As if they might walk from the ruins - chosen, spared.

With hindsight now we track
the vapour-trail of each flight-path
arcing through blue morning, like a curved thought.

And in retrospect plot
the weird prospect
of a passenger plane beading an office-block.

But long before that dawn,
with those towers drawing
in worth and name to their full height, an opposite was forming,

a force
still years and miles off,
yet moving headlong forwards, locked on a collision course.

Then time and space
contracted, so whatever distance
held those worlds apart thinned to an instant.

During which, cameras framed
moments of grace
before the furious contact wherein earth and heaven fused.

Read Andrew Motion's poem on September 11

Simon Armitage
Listen - Simon Armitage reads his poem
The World Trade Center Towers
The Pentagon
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