|Mortal pride and earthly glory,|
Sword and crown betray our trust;
Through with care and toil we build them,
Tower and temple fall to dust.
But God’s power, hour by hour,
Is my temple and my tower.
What I remember most vividly from that service is the Gospel reading. I don’t recall the text that was read, but I remember the geometry of the reading. Directly between the reader at the center of the nave and my choir chair in the chancel was one of the tall altar candles. Two years later, that candle figured prominently in my retelling of what happened that night.
My poem “9/11 Memorial” and additional commentary can be found on my Web site here.
by Lionel E. Deimel
July 10, 2003
The staff scrambled to assemble a service,
not knowing who was affected,
not knowing, really, what had happened.
I watched the congregation from my usual place in the choir,
saw a somber crowd performing the familiar ritual,
trying to understand the utterly unfamiliar.
I watched a priest prepare the elements,
flanked by the tall altar candles,
just as I had watched a priest read the Gospel from the center of the nave—
watched through a flame atop a taper reaching skyward,
giving off waves of heat through which the words shimmered.