On 9/11: Oh, Yet We Trust That Somehow Good


Each anniversary of this day leaves me a unsure of what to do or say that would be proper. On September 11, 2001, I was 15, in a high school classroom in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, so far removed from the event that I could not quite grasp the enormity of things until years later. In light of tragedy, words are never quite right, never quite what we need them to be, so all I have today is this sliver of a poem.

In Memoriam, A. H. H. (54: "Oh, yet we trust that somehow good"), by Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1849)

Oh, yet we trust that somehow good
Will be the final end of ill,
To pangs of nature, sins of will,
Defects of doubt, and taints of blood;
That nothing walks with aimless feet;
That not one life shall be destroy'd,
Or cast as rubbish to the void,
When God hath made the pile complete;
That not a worm is cloven in vain;
That not a moth with vain desire
I shrivell'd in a fruitless fire,
Or but subserves another's gain.
Behold, we know not anything;
I can but trust that good shall fall
At last--far off--at last, to all,
And every winter change to spring.
So runs my dream: but what am I?
An infant crying in the night:
An infant crying for the light:
And with no language but a cry.