March 1, 2005

Truly a great symbol

Lehman, "The World Trade Center"

The World Trade Center really got to me. I think this is the first reading that really sparked something deep inside. The writer starts out by saying that he never liked the view of the towers. They were "ugly monoliths" he said. Then he said how the bombing in 1996 changed his view of them. What they stood for and how proud he became of them. A lot of people take for granted things that they have just grown accustomed to until they are almost taken away.

We spoke last class on how poems can lose something over time and through translation, but this one is the total opposite. This has gained so much after Sapt 11, 2001. They are no longer there and now all of you that didn't notice them have changed your view. They stand for so much more now than before. They serve as a reminder for those you lost their lives going about their own everyday routine. They stand for our freedoms that does not come easy, and that is threaten everyday by those that don't understand it or just want it and can't have it. It is a hole in our heart, but a hope for our future. It is a painful end, but a brand new start. It was a coming together to form a stronger nation and overcoming the hope of tearing us apart.

I never got to see those towers in person, but they mean so much to me. They changed my life drastically; they changed all of our lifes. This poem has gained so much since it was written, and i wish it didn't. What is stood for before sept. 11, is not the same anymore. It took on a new meaning. You shouldn't start noticing something or someone when they are almost taken away, because you might just drift right back into your same routine. And before you know it, it could be threatened again, and this time it might really leave you for good. They did stand as a symbol for liberty, and they still do. But now that picture is much stronger and it is etched in our hearts. Freedom doesn't come free, and liberty will always stand true in my heart.

Posted by ScottClark at March 1, 2005 10:54 PM

Great response, Scott. This is an example of how a poem that meant one thing at one time can change its meaning because of later events. That's why it's worth studying the older works, and that's why it's silly to think that there's a book in every literature teacher's office that contains "the meaning" of each poem, and that the student's job is to go to, write down what they say the poem "means," and spit it back on an exam.

Poetry lives and changes as our lives continue to live and change. Thanks for sharing a very personal response to the issues this poem raises in your heart.

Posted by: Dennis G. Jerz at March 2, 2005 9:18 AM

Scott, thanks for sharing your response to this poem. Your entry is a good illustration of the fact that poetry can change its meaning over time. This poem meant one thing when it was written, after the unsuccessful terrorist attempt to destroy the WTC. Now, the poem means something else entirely -- especially the lines about the towers dissolving in light.

Your reaction demonstrates that poetry is alive and changing.

Posted by: Dennis G. Jerz at March 2, 2005 9:46 AM

Apologies for the multiple posting... at first I thought my initial comment failed to post. (I liked the first one better, anyway.)

Posted by: Dennis G. Jerz at March 2, 2005 9:48 AM

First let me start off by thanking you for your post on my blog about this same subject.

When I was reading this poem my first reaction was that of Mina's.."People actually disliked the towers? Don't they understand what they stood for?" Then I started thinking and doing some research. People really didn't like the towers and they thought that they were too much trouble for what they were worth. (Not to mention they were ruining a skyline people had been looking at for decades.) Then after 9/11, as you said, everything changed,and people changed. My children will grow up looking at pictures and hearing stories of what I experianced first hand, be it from television or actually in NY, like we grew up listening to our parents talk about the assassination of President Kennedy.

And so I say that I have the same feelings that you do. This poem moved me in a way that I try to get my poetry to move others. I can only hope to be this well versed when I am older.

Posted by: Tiffany at March 2, 2005 2:02 PM

Hey Scott, I caught that reference to the "translation" we talked about in class--thanks for that. I don't know if you're directly refering to my presentation, but I'll just say thank you if it is, and you can think I'm silly if it isn't ;-)

Anyway, I just wrote something on Holly's blog about the Twin Towers in relation to another commonly disliked, but popular landmark, the Eiffel Tower. There are many similarities when considering the general public's dislike of the monuments.

I share many of your feelings about the poem--it's really touching, especially since we've lived through their tragic destruction. The towers consumed many lives--including that of my uncle--and I don't think that anyone in the future will be able to read this poem (even though it is actually about the 1996 bombing) without considering 9/11. Fascinating, like Dr. Jerz mentioned, how one event can change what someone may think of as the "meaning" of a piece.

Posted by: Karissa at March 2, 2005 10:43 PM
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