Leap Of Love – By Hubert Williams

Twin-TowersLeap Of Love

By Hubert Williams

On Tuesday, September 11, 2001, like hundreds of millions worldwide, I watched in awe at the dramatic scenes unfolding on the television screen. Our anguish was common. The impact of this incredible disaster was to become more personal. My AA flight scheduled for September 12th, out of Barbados to New York, was cancelled, like so many other flights across America and around the globe; one of my sisters, Mrs. Walterine “Wendy” Sears, was halfway bound to New York from London where she resides when the British Airways flight turned around for its return to Heathrow Airport; and another sister, Mrs. Frances “Jean” Griffith, who held a manager’s position with the huge American Insurance Group (AIG) in a neighbouring skycraper, was among the dust-covered, panicked thousands running wildly from the Manhattan disaster zone towards the relative safety of the Brooklyn Bridge.   But for me, the truly unforgettable scenes that day were those of innocent people trapped up high and jumping from the burning towers. 

Four days afterwards, on the first New York-bound AA flight out of Barbados’ Grantley Adams International Airport, I did the initial draft of the following tribute, in honour of those who jumped, to express my belief that all who jumped would not have done so out of fear, or expecting to survive. The draft was refined during the return flight AA 1385 on October 4, 2001.

Leap Of Love

Mom, we watched the rising sun
On another glorious day !
Our “Big Apple”… glowing
So beautiful in Fall
We hugged… We kissed
You sent me on my way
Smiling your fond farewell
That was our daily call
At 19, my world was
Such a lovely place!
Rich roadside rhythm
Of rushing cars
Tunneled serenade
Of speeding trains
Sidewalk percussion
From a million feet
In orchestral unison –
“We Love New York”
A so smooth elevator’s rush
And I’m on the 94th Floor
In fashion’s garb
With fragrance French
Confidence high: pretty
In the prime of my life
There’s much to be done
At my file-stacked desk
The Lord loves a doer
And I’m truly good at my job
It really feels great to be
Young, healthy and happy
But then… Oh My God!
What’s that awful noise?
Loudest, most frightening sound
I‘ve ever heard…. Deafening.
Shaking building… building shaking so
Awful, choking black smoke: terrible screams
My mates, my friends, so many others
God guard us all… God guard us all!
Our beautiful Trade Centre –
A raging inferno in the sky
Heat… White heat … Heat so intense
Flames. Angry, hungry flames. All-consuming
None of us here will survive this day
Yet… Fear I feel not… I’m not afraid
Truly, fear is but a sanctuary for fools
As it affords no one any real shelter
Nor does fear provide any safety.
Bravely, I must face
The fact of death!
Credit cards and all my ID secured
Jewelry, inscribed watch, diary, too
Crucial cell phone safely in my bag
All that is me, I have with me
Then… leap outwards, downwards
But keep always looking up, up, up
Falling faster against rushing wind
That will soon take my breath away
And it is Heaven’s joys that
Await me at this journey’s end
Very few leap: Most choose to stay
As youth’s vitality burns into Zero!
No matter how crushed
And battered be
What hits the ground
Remains me
Morticians can
My likeness bring
Back to funereal
Perfection still
Oh, no… ‘Twas not Fear…
Affection steered my act
My sparkling eyes shut
My warm embraces stopped
My happy laughter stilled
My familiar footsteps gone
But, Mom, Dad, Darlings all
Be not too sad. Do not despair
I am here with you
For closure
A corpse to bear on that slow
Anguished journey to the grave!
Mom, I dare not say
Don’t cry too much
For tears are famously
Our family’s way
We always celebrate
And mourn alike
‘Til the rivers of joy/sorrow
Exhaust their liquid flow
But for me, you’ll find tributaries
And rushing estuaries anew!
Closure soothes, Mom. It soothes
Without it, pain has no ease
Grief grips the heart
Grimly grinding more lives
So, Darlings all. Please…
Inter this mortal me
And treasure the final sight
Of your Beloved
‘Twas love for you
That made me leap!

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  • Mark Steele  On 09/06/2013 at 4:03 am

    Very moving Hubert and so well constructed. You have done well,
    Good wishes

    Mark Steele
    22 Vanderbilt Parade
    Brookfield Park
    Albany 0632
    Auckland’ New Zealand
    Tel +64 9 4144401

  • Rosaliene Bacchus  On 09/06/2013 at 3:57 pm

    I’ve never thought of their leap in this way. At such a moment, who knows what lies in the hearts of men in the face of death? Beautiful.

  • detow  On 09/08/2013 at 1:09 am

    A new perspective of what might have gone through the minds and hearts of those who leaped or even stayed behind once their minds were freed of fear and the anguish that they might have left behind

    Well done Hubert. A piece well written.

  • Clement Derrell  On 09/11/2013 at 2:35 am

    Thoughtful commentary on that fateful day which most still cannot fathom.

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