A Poem for 9/11

POETRY FORMAT, 18 Oct 2021

Robert Cable – TRANSCEND Media Service


11 September, iconic date
Like 7 December 60 years before,
Rushed us to judgment and a bloody war
As if war had been our unchosen fate.

11 September, indelible date,
Like New York’s twin towers, was well designed
To fill the sky of everybody’s mind
And endless printed pages dominate.

11 September, infamous day,
Twin tower digits date looms large in minds
And now, two decades later, still reminds
That predators sometimes may be the prey.

Bloody revenge against alleged attacks,
A policy beloved by MIC,
Unwarranted as far as I can see,
Is only one of our mistaken tracks.

But does the government actually err
Or just do bidding of corporations
For corporate welfare, not the nation’s?
I think it’s the latter.  Do you concur?

For twenty years now, the “War on Terror”
Has drained our treasury of two trillions
While devastating the lives of millions.
It’s been a war of horrible error.

On 9/11, year 2001,
Four planes were hijacked–so the story goes–
By 19 Muslim hijackers, fierce foes,
Yet every one of them without a gun!

That twin thin-digit date subtly reminds
Us of abhorrent crime which, we were told
Repeatedly before the day was old,
Was done by Muslims with their evil minds.

So we waged war against that slandered foe
For 20 years, wasting two trillion bucks,
Then ending with abandoned guns, planes, trucks
And Afghan millions glad to see us go.

“Graveyard of Empires,” far Afghanistan,
Once more proves merit of that epithet,
That warning so disastrous to forget.
Shame, shame to learn anew from Taliban!

Their mountainous fortress, Afghanistan
Has thwarted most attempts to conquer it.
The fierce Afghanis never will submit.
They’ve thwarted each attempted conquest plan.

Their natural castle, Afghanistan,
Is safe in mountains of the Hindu Kush,
Where all invaders die in high ambush.
So it has been since history began.


First, Persia tried to add Afghanistan
To it’s great empire years before the Greeks.
More lands, more riches every empire seeks,
Creates as many vassals as it can.

Darius the Great, 515 BC,
Made satraps of some in Afghanistan,
Extracting its wealth from many a man,
Yet didn’t succeed to a great degree.

Alexander the Great conquered afar,
Even Bactria, 330 BC.
But all that remains of his memory
Is city he founded, named “Kandahar.”

Arab Muslim soldiers, for centuries,
Raided and invaded Afghanistan,
Khorasan, Sistan and Tokharistan,
Adding to their armies and treasuries.

Ibn Amir in 650 AD
Made peace for 600,000 dinars.
(Such tribute is a motive in most wars.)
Peace was as lucrative as it could be.

The Mongol onslaught was more merciless,
As Genghis Khan’s 100,000 men
Would massacre in every battle, then
Plundered survivors with all thoroughness.

Some stayed to be the people of today.
Their fierceness has repelled invaders since,
Has caused all would-be conquerors to wince
And ept prospective new rulers away.

From 1839 through ’42,
First foolish move in infamous “Great Game,”
The British Army of the Indus came
To Kabul—which they also came to rue.

The Second Anglo-Afghan War began
In 1878 and ended when
The Brits beat Ayub Khan’s revolting men.
In their new buffer state, he was their man.

A century on, in 1979,
Soviet soldiers attacked Afghanistan.
Things failed to go according to their plan.
Thwarted, they left in 1989.

October 7th of 2001,
U.S. GIs struck poor Afghanistan.
“Operation Enduring Freedom” began
And a U.S. debacle had begun.

Now, 9/11, 2021,
Cantankerous Afghanistan is free.
Invaders, once more beaten, bleeding, flee
But shamelessly proclaim that they have won.


Three digits, 9-1-1, now signify
A kind of serious emergency,
A feared event of utmost urgency
That’s only just began to terrify.

To most Americans, that date recalls
A day traumatic, unforgettable.
We aimed to make it most regrettable
For perpetrators—show ‘em who had balls.

We said, because 3,000 died that day,
That many thousands more would lose their lives.
We’ve made a multitude of mourning wives
Avenging 9/11, made them pay.


But what is said may not, in fact, be true.
The actual enemy was from within.
For some, to gain more gold, there is no sin
Too great that it will limit what they do.

What government and media declare,
Much of it, if not all of it, is wrong.
Alas, the mass of people go along.
A healthy skepticism now is rare.

And independent reasoning is, too.
To leave the mainstream means to lose some friends.
Disputing facts is where some friendship ends.
(This case, of course, does not apply to you.)

On 9/11, traitors ruled the day,
Then blamed the Muslims for their evil acts,
As you can see when you get all the facts
Though propaganda points a different way.

This subject here is much too big for verse.
Consult instead, dozens of books in prose
To truly know how that attack arose.
The crime was so incredibly perverse!

We all want justice to prevail someday.
I’ve sought it 80 years; it hasn’t come.
We must do far more work for such outcome.
It’s not nearly enough to hope and pray.

Meanwhile, most people act as they think right.
We’re lucky that so many are decent.
As for the motives of the One Percent,
They’re wealth and wealth’s associated might.

God made this world to see how we will act:
Living the way we want others to live,
Thinking of what we are able to give,
Or plotting instead what we can extract.

Justice may lie in a different sphere;
But we won’t know until after we die.
Don’t wait, however, for pie in the sky.
Let’s work together and create it here.


Robert Cable was born in South Dakota, where he heard, read and loved rhymed verse from his early years. From 1958 to 1962, he earned a B.A. in English and Spanish at Harvard College, and then joined the new U.S. Peace Corps.  In Peru, he began a long, varied, peripatetic career of teaching, which he eventually did in Minnesota, Texas, Massachusetts, Washington DC, Saudi Arabia and Iran. During a year of study at the American University of Beirut he met his Palestinian wife, Layla (now divorced).  After retirement in 2015, he began to write occasional verse, which currently to a repertoire of about 500 pieces.

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This article originally appeared on Transcend Media Service (TMS) on 18 Oct 2021.

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