Eric D. Snider

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Bad 9-11 poetry: ‘Ballad of 9/11/01,’ ‘Love Will Always Prevail’

Two more poems written by Utahns in the days after 9/11, submitted (unsolicited) to the newspaper I was working for at the time. (For more background, read the earlier entries in this category.)

By the way, we only have two more editions of this feature before the well runs dry. So those who don’t like it only have to be forced at gunpoint to read it twice more after this.

Ballad of 9/11/01
by Andrea Dietrich

[Note: This poem was apparently meant to be a song, as the word "ballad" in the title suggests. Conveniently, I note that it can be sung to the tune of the "Gilligan's Island" theme song. Sing away!]

A bright blue Indian summer morn.
An unexpected jolt.
Hundreds instantly massacred
On day of thunderbolt.

Workers in the tower’s twin
Who gaped in disbelief,
Minutes later too were hit
That day of horror and grief.

By radio and TV show
The news was quickly spread.
The world was left incredulous.
A day for feeling dread.

And still the killing wasn’t done.
Before our nations’ eyes
The Pentagon was next attacked
That day of sad surprise.

Back to the scene in Manhattan,
Some folks were stuck in rooms
of towers with tops obscured by smoke.
That day of shadows and gloom.

And some, choosing not to face the fire,
Jumped to their deaths in fright.
People screamed or averted their eyes.
A day of hideous sights.

But no, the worst wasn’t finished yet.
South Tower did collapse
As people fled down crowded steps.
Oh, day to flabbergast!

Of those on the outskirts looking on,
Many met with the same tragic fate.
Police and firemen who rushed in.
Oh, day to commiserate.

And rendering hope was Father “Mike”,
Unvanquished by helplessness,
Who died will giving a brother last rites.
Oh, day of selflessness.

In the midst of rubble and ash and flame
And calls to evacuate,
The northern tower came crumbling down
On day of hasty escape.

As people spilled out onto the streets,
Their lungs filled with debris,
They sobbed for loves most likely lost.
A day of melancholy.

Meanwhile were martyrs in nearby skies.
We heard with sympathy
How Flight 93 had crashed on ground
On day of infamy.

But striking in difference from other events,
Though all were senselessness,
Strong acts of heroics were doubtless employed
That day of defenselessness.

The terror receded. Our president spoke.
We listened to what he would say.
From home and abroad he rallied support
On a day to ponder and pray.

A might giant has been awoke.
And its hand is beckoning.
Faceless cowards cannot hide long
On this daybreak of reckoning.

* * * * *

Love Will Always Prevail
author unknown

[This one's clearly meant to be a song, too, with a chorus and even a bridge. I don't know what tune it can be sung to, though. Any suggestions?]

You show your hatred
You give us pain
But we always find a way to love again
You cause destruction
You tear apart
But you’re never gonna stop our beating heart

Cause America
Is built on Love
And the heart of this land will never fail
When all is said and done
We will still be #1
Because Love will always prevail

We’ve been scarred
By you before
And I’m sure America will see some more.
But your hatred
Can not compare
With the love your gonna see this nation share

‘Cause America
Is built on Love
And the heart of this land will never fail
When all is said and done
We will still be #1
Because Love will always prevail

Try to tear us apart and watch us pull together
America’s heart will keep beating forever

Cause America
Is built on Love
And the heart of this land will never fail
When all is said and done
We will still be #1
Because Love will always prevail

29 Responses to “Bad 9-11 poetry: ‘Ballad of 9/11/01,’ ‘Love Will Always Prevail’”

  1. O'Mallen Says:

    Oh no! Not more 9/11 poetry!!
    As for Love Will Prevail, it is clearly meant to be sung in the heavy metal style. I was trying to sing it to Metallica’s Sad But True, but as I have no musical ability, I just ended up looking like an idiot shouting at my computer.

  2. BeeDub Says:

    “Oh, day to flabbergast!”

    Hi – frickin’ – larious.

  3. RandyTayler Says:

    I flabbergasted like six times that day.

    You can sort of squish and stretch Love Will Prevail into “We Built This City,” but that’s not a very good fit; nor is “Country Roads”. “Come to Zion” requires to much squishing and such…

    “Day to flabbergast.” Man. Truer words were ne’er spoken.

  4. stupidramblings Says:

    I was going to post my favorite stanza and react, but each stanza is equally bad. So short of posting both “poems” again–WOW!

    I can’t tell if they are ‘Reflections Contest’ rejects, or ward talent show successes.

  5. Andrew D Says:

    It takes some tweaking, but I think “Basket Case” by Green Day works pretty well on the second one, especially on the chorus. It would definitely be easier to make a rap out of it, like “Intergalactic” or “Sabotage” by the Beastie Boys.

    There. That’s my contribution to society for the day.

  6. AdamOndi Says:

    At last! I know what I am supposed to do on the anniversary of 9/11! From now on, I will flabbergast on that day. What a relief!

    All I want to know is why these people insist on rhyming their poems, when they clearly have no rhyming ability. If you have trouble rhyming, then for the love of literacy, please do not use words like “flabbergast” or “infamy.”

  7. corned_beef Says:

    Going along with cheezy TV themes, may I suggest “Brady Bunch” for the second, with the appropriate stanza endings indicated below.

    You show your hatred
    —(Here’s a story…)
    You give us pain
    But we always find a way to love again
    You cause destruction
    You tear apart
    But you’re never gonna stop our beating heart
    —(That’s the way they all became the Brady Bunch)

    Cause America
    Is built on Love
    And the heart of this land will never fail
    When all is said and done
    We’ll still be 1
    ‘Cause Love will always prevail
    —(The youngest one in curls…)

    We’ve been scarred
    By you before
    And I’m sure America will see some more.
    But your hatred
    Can not compare
    With the love your gonna see this nation share!
    —(That’s the way they all became the Brady Bunch!)

    ‘Cause America
    —(The Brady Bunch)
    Is built on Love
    —(The Brady Bunch)
    And the hearrrrt of this land will never fail!
    —That’s the way we became the Brady Bunch!)

  8. Steven Gardner Says:

    Oh Day to flabbergast

    That would be today after reading that line.

  9. Argus Skyhawk Says:

    This is why I don’t write poetry. As hilariously awful as these works are, I know that if I tried to write a poem about 9-11, it would probably turn out at least as bad.

  10. Momma Snider Says:

    See, and I thought the first one was pretty good, until I got to the day of flabbergast. The use of that word made me think it had to be a joke, and it doesn’t rhyme with collapse anyway.

    But it’s probably a really good thing I don’t write poetry any more, and a REALLY good thing I don’t send any of my old ones to newspapers.

  11. card Says:

    Did it used to be common to have poetry printed in the newspaper? It seems like we have copies of poetry that my grandmother wrote that was printed in the newspaper. Maybe that’s the source of all of this poetry? Not my grandma, but rather just because it used to be common?

  12. Dave Says:

    I almost thought the second could be sung to “We are the champions”. Not quite.

    But you can try.

    Here is a source for your lipsyncing joy:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sogKUx_q7ig

    (a delight in of itself)

  13. TheDon Says:

    Is it me or has more than one of these poems indicated something about a ‘sleeping giant’?

  14. O'Mallen Says:

    Most giants are sleeping ones, it gets really tiring being huge and all.

  15. Katie Says:

    Be afraid of the “might giant.”

  16. Laura Says:

    Might Giants write really good music, though. Build a little birdhouse in your soul, y’all.

  17. corned_beef Says:

    Rhyming helplessness with selflessness is pure gold.

  18. SRWalshon Says:

    My favorites, from the Ballad of 9/11/01:
    “Back to the scene in Manhattan”
    … are we watching the news?

    “Unvanquished by helplessness”
    … How could you come up with that while trying to write a poem, much less a song?

    This is beautiful garbage.

  19. Momma Snider Says:

    Somebody who knows good poetry from bad, please give me an example of a good poem. I mean, there are some things that would tip me off that it’s bad, but many that are considered good seem the same to me.

    I love “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock.” And “Remember” by Christina Rossetti. But I don’t know if they’re “good” or not.

  20. Sharell Says:

    Singing “Ballad of 9/11″ to the theme of “Gilligan’s Island” is lots more entertaining if you repeat the last line of every stanza. It’s especially fun on the “day to flabbergast” stanza. Try it. It’s fun and nutritious.

  21. Chrystle Says:

    I know it’s late, but Momma Snider Dulce and Decorum Est by Wilfred Owen, or anything by Seigfried Sasson.

    Definition of ballad: poem comprised of four line stanzas, with at least one line repeated in each stanza.

    Does using the word “day” in each stanza count as a repeated line?

  22. Jennifer Walker Says:

    What is everyone’s problem, I believe you are all jealous that you and those like you can not see the love this poet has of the people of the United States. That she used words such as flabbergast because there is no other word to describe the terror that happened that day. What is wrong with rythming when you can do so and I would say she did so with greatness. I believe that each and every one that responded so evilly take a look at yourself in the mirror.
    By the way, the poem or ballad was not unsolicitated and who the blank are you to critize it the way you are doing. I for one think your an idiot without a soul. If anyone was interested that poem or ballad was written just the day the event happened. It was written because she was the mother of a marine and she feared for her son and for other sons of other mothers who would for certain go to war and die serving jerks like you without the souls.

  23. Jesse Says:

    Jennifer, you wrote that first horrible poem, didn’t you? Just admit it, and do so with greatness. Surely you can recognize the difference between “O” (as in “expression of reverence”) and “Oh” (as in “oh dear, what atrocious poetry!”) and that lines like “though all were senselessness” is just plain sloppy writing, regardless of the uniform emotion of those events.

    And no, the paper was not particularly interested in the hundreds of “unsolicitated” bad poems and ballads that befell their office. Do you even know what jealously is?

  24. Lulu Says:

    My sister-in-law ‘for certain went to war’, and yet I managed to resist writing crappy poetry. She has forgiven me for being a ‘jerk without the soul’.

  25. Andrea Dietrich Says:

    (this will be too lengthy to post but go ahead if you want to)
    A long time ago when I was a fledgling poet, I sent that “horrifying” first ballad of mine into the Daily Herald (at the time I was proud of it, but today I am not, and actually more for the fact of the over-patriotism it displayed rather than for its “bad” writing!). That is neither here nor there. I did not send that poem to have it be grabbed up by you, Mr. Snide. I can see you now, picking it up from the rejection pile to claim for your own devices with a gleam in your Grinchy eye. A simple rejection letter from the real people in charge there would have sufficed. I never gave my consent for you to have it, but then I stumbled upon it quite by accident and told my sister about it. I had no idea she had come to my defense until just today when I stumbled upon my poem again right here where it sits.(no, Jesse, my sister does not write poetry at all, so you got it wrong)

    . I do not mind any more if you want to hold my ballad up to ridicule, Mr. Snide. I have penned over 2,000 poems since this ballad was written. I went on to win 2nd place in an International Sonnet Contest, first place in one of PoetrySoup’s International contests in 2010(a site with thousands of members) and numerous first, second, and third place wins in other contests of note. I’ve been a poetry editor for Marie Summers of ShadowPoetry and a co-judge for other of her contests after having my own wins in her annual ShadowInk contests win awards worth over 300 dollars each time. I’ve appeared in numerous magazines and books and have written articles in them as well, covering movies, grammar lessons and poetry form lessons. I teach adult ESL and help in organizing curriculum development materials there too.

    It is not the measure of a poet’s success to earn money from his poetry. I will mention that I have earned over a thousand dollars in contest wins simply to show you that many people have indeed found my poetry to be of worth. At this moment I am working with a co-author on a book idea to sell to educators so that school children can learn to write in many forms of poetry (I take it that rhyme is not your cup of tea; however, millions of fans the world over are still in love with rhyming poems!)

    Continue having fun showing off my bad example of a bad ballad. I can live with it. My current resume for writing overrides the “shame” of this very early work of mine. By the way, how do numerous poetry friends of mine get published in their local papers with their unsolicited poetry? They simply put their poems in an envelop and send them in. Had I known the Daily Herald was going to allow my poem to be grabbed up by you, I would not have sent it in. Maybe one day I will approach them again trying to “toot my own horn.” I am happy to say that I am a more polished writer today.

    Finally, it was such a pleasure having met you back in the day when you could not even give me a nod for just participating in the reviews of movies you were doing online. You certainly did not enjoy interaction with someone like me. On the other hand, I have given thousands of hours of my time to building up my fellow poets and teaching them how to do correct forms to enhance their writing styles. I would never hold up any of them, particularly the beginners, to ridicule. Even the lowliest among them have “heart” in their writing!

    Sincerely, Andrea Dietrich

  26. Eric D. Snider Says:

    I know this is obvious, but just for the record: I didn’t say Andrea Dietrich was a terrible poet who would never write anything good and who would never win prizes or help school children. The only thing I said was that this particular poem was bad — a sentiment she apparently shares. So I don’t know why she wrote that long thing just to say that she agrees with me on the one thing I did say.

  27. Andrea Dietrich Says:

    Sorry, I tend to be wordy at times. I just find it very irritating that you can take someone’s work and post it online without their knowledge or consent. Being turned down by the newspaper was enough. Rejection such as that makes it obvious to a writer that the poem was not worthy. Anyway, it’s a free country and it’s nice that we can both agree on airing our opinions in a forum such as this. Happy New Year, (oh) snide one.

  28. Eric D. Snider Says:

    If it’s any consolation, your poem wasn’t rejected by the Daily Herald because it was bad. It was rejected because it was a poem. The paper simply didn’t publish poetry submitted by readers. Letters to the editor, yes. Poems, no.

  29. Chrissy Says:

    “jerks without the souls” may be the best thing ever. Eric, if you ever publish another book, can you please call it “jerks without the souls”?

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