Everything Stopped

The room was silent.
In one fell swoop of those planes
the buzz just stopped –
everything stopped,
everyone stared
at computer or TV screens,
in disbelief at what they’d seen.
Everything stopped,
the world stopped
spinning for a moment.
So far from this tragedy
and yet so close to anguished faces,
desperate faces,
faces full of grief
and we couldn’t weep
because even the tears had stopped –
everything stopped.

Kim M. Russell, 11th September 2018

My response to dVerse Poets Pub Poetics: On a Loop also linked to Imaginary Garden with Real Toads Tuesday Platform

Amaya, who is hosting this Tuesday’s Poetics, reminds us that today, September 11, will always be a dizzying one for how it comes around on the calendar and slings us, willingly or not, back to that fateful day in world history.

The prompt tonight asks us to construct a new free-form poem using a word or phrase from the past, written on 9/11. If we do not have anything recorded from September 11, we can find writing from the same week or month.

I’ve written my poem in seventeen lines, one for each year that has passed since that terrible day, and my phrase is ‘everything stopped’ because that is what happened in my place of work and, as I found out later, across the world.

33 thoughts on “Everything Stopped

  1. This is so true, Kim. Everyone seemed to be in shock and didn’t know what to do.
    We live across the Delaware River from the Philadelphia Airport. Planes stopped flying from there for a few days, and it was very quiet. When I heard them start again, I was scared for a moment because I wasn’t sure what was happening–if they were planes attacking or not.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. 17 lines. An excellent memorial. I was working on the 14th floor of a federal building and we were all of us terrified for a few weeks afterwards. Things did stop especially in the US. This is an excellent poem full of tears. On my FB page today, I chose to post about the historic boatlift, where thousands of boats came together to evacuate people from lower Manhattan island.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. “and we couldn’t weep because even the tears had stopped”… this is so raw with emotion 😥 sigh.. I remember 9/11 .. I was a mere teenager back then.. it was a horrible, horrible tragedy 💔

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Most of us remember that day. I spent a stupefied morning watching TV News. Mrs. Jim was on the golf course playing with three other ladies. A woman came runing out from her house to tell of the disaster. One of the ladies asked what they should do. Mrs. Jim, a Southern Baptist, suggested they pray. Out there the four ladies joined hands and prayef, one the Baptist, one a Jewish lady, another a Budist born in Japan, and the last an Athiest.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Who doesn’t remember this day? The radio and TV channels in Australia dithered after the first announcement as to whether they should continue regular programs or concentrate on the news coming in…which of course won out in the end as everyone was glued to their sets.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I was playing with my son, not even near a television until my mother called. Then the whole routine of our day just stopped. The silence is what I remember best.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I was trying to get two different critically ill patients out of my clinic at Southeastern USA Air Force Base to the local hospital. I had just sent our base ambulance off with the heart attack patient and so we called for a coomunity ambulance to get there. I was working feverishly, wondering why the ambulance from the community was having trouble getting on base to transport my second patient. I heard something vague about a plane crash in NYC and had no idea what that had to do with my patient with fulminant diverticulitis not being able to get the ambulance sent to us, I had to get on the horn and bark at the security gate about my patient needed that ambulance to get to him and was told that nothing was allowed on to the base, I said he could explain that to this retired serviceman’s family at his funeral, or he could let the ambulance get in. They let it in, the patient got transported with lights going and I took a breather, then went to a crowded break room just in time to see a replay of the second tower collapse in a silent glittering haze on the tiny screen. I stopped, I knew, ah now I got it, I cussed something unbelievable under my breath.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Although the US and the UK have thousands of miles between them, that day I think we felt closer than we ever did. We watched the tragedy again and again on our television screens in disbelief. And then years later, terrorist attacks began to multiply across Europe too. On the day of the London tube and bus attack, my daughter was on her way to work in London. I live up on the North Norfolk coast, over 150 miles away, and I’d heard the news before I went to work. It was the only day I have ever kept my mobile phone switched on in a classroom.


    1. Thank you, Sarah. I’m struggling to post, read, comment, anything as my internet keeps going down every few minutes. I’m going to give up and get ready for Bounce and Rhyme. I might be able to catch up later. No BT engineer until tomorrow.


  8. “Everything stopped” so aptly describes that moment. It was as if, for that brief period of time, the world ceased to turn on its axis, and we would never be the same. So well said.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Exactly. Exactly.
    This, like the assasination of President Kennedy…..I remember exactly what I was doing, where I was, and hearing and seeing it. And everything stopped.
    For some reason, we had the television on that morning….we were running late for us….and I was running in an out of the living room – again I can’t remember why. And we saw the images, and heard Katie Couric and someone else talking about the horrible accident….and then we saw, live, right there. we stood absolutely still and watched the second plane come onto the screen, bank, and go right into the second tower and heard Katie Couric say…as it first dawned on her….”we are under attack.” Everything stopped. Exactly.

    Liked by 1 person

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