“How are they down, how have they fallen down”

Twin TowersOh how quiet it is after the black night
When flames out of the clouds burned down your cariated teeth,
And when those lightnings,
Lancing the black boils of Harlem and the Bronx,
Spilled the remaining prisoners,
(The tens and twenties of the living)
Into the trees of Jersey,
To the green farms, to find their liberty.

How are they down, how have they fallen down
Those great strong towers of ice and steel,
And melted by what terror and what miracle?
What fires and lights tore down,
With the white anger of their sudden accusation,
Those towers of silver and of steel?

From Figures For An Apocalypse, VI – In the Ruins of New York (1947) by Thomas Merton

Cordoba House, 51 Park Place

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in SESSIUNCULA and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to “How are they down, how have they fallen down”

  1. Liz F says:

    This morning I saw little girls standing on a street corner, holding flags and signs that said something about remembering 9/11. I was so grateful because it reminded me to pray for the families and especially the poor souls of that day at mass today. Then on the way home I was able to talk to my kids about what I remember from that day. It’s still unbelievable 9 years later.

  2. Charliebird says:

    Was this really written in 1947?!

  3. I deleted a couple unnecessarily inflammatory comments purposely, and another quite benign by accident.

  4. Supertradmum says:

    I am sorry, Father, that you are getting negative flack on this. Today is so important for our Catholic identity. You know this, and apparently, Merton had some sort of prophetic vision. May he rest in peace.

  5. PostCatholic says:

    Perhaps a look at Martin Espada’s Alabanza is in order? I think Merton’s poem isn’t quite the right fit.

  6. PostCatholic says:

    Here is a direct link: http://martinespada.net/alabanza.htm

  7. DHippolito says:

    Fr. Z, since mine was one of those taken down, I must reassert that the credibility of any Catholic who supports construction of this Muslim edifice while remaining silent on the fate of the Eastern Orthodox church destroyed by the 9/11 attacks must be questioned. Why does Islam deserve more consideration from Catholics than Eastern Orthodoxy?

  8. Supertradmum says:


    I compare this situation with my once two-year old brother, who hollered the loudest and cried the longest. Needless to say, he got more attention than the rest of us, just to quiet him. Same principle plus, I have not seen any Eastern Orthodox terrorists on planes with bombs in their shoes, have you?