Sunday, September 11, 2011

Last Blue Sky of Summer

By Joseph Hesch

The night of my forty-ninth birthday,
I pulled the covers over a part
of my life I knew was ending.
The next morning would be the first
on the path to my autumn,
when everything about life would change.
I awoke to a morning sky
of such infinite azure beauty,
so clean of cloud and worry
that I made a memory of it,
something I could carry
in my gray remaining years.
Mercilessly, my memory sky
was smeared by flame and smoke,
by dust and tears.
And soon I realized the selfish dread
I hid behind sleepy eyes the night
of that September 10, would
haunt me for all my days.
Always it will sting my eyes
when I think of that
last blue sky of summer.

On this tenth anniversary of the horrors of September 11, 2001, my poem addresses a loss so much less important in the grand scheme of things. I lost a bit of joy that comes every year on my birthday. And I lost the glory that was that last brilliant sky of my life's summer. (Photo by New York Daily News.)


  1. "Always it stings my eyes when I think of that last blue summer." *sigh* It's so interesting to see the different emotions everyone has tied to this date. You've really made this personal, and I can feel the loss on many levels in your words. And, on a side note, I hope you were able to enjoy a lovely birthday yesterday, Joe :)

  2. I love how you made this so personal and then opened it up to the grand scheme - we all have personal stories for that day; we all need to share them. I really love this.

  3. Everyone remembers where they were that day. The memories are still vivid even after 10 years. And on such a beautiful 'last blue sky of summer' I feel your loss and am glad you shared it. Your poem was moving and heart-felt, and it has touched me.

  4. 'Always it will sting my eyes
    when I think of that
    last blue sky of summer.'

    You have such a wonderful way of capturing such personal moments with your words, in a way that we can all feel. Thank you for sharing this personal moment with us.

  5. attaching it to your birthday as well i am sure it rings with memory every doing the math on your age now...smiles...a belated happy birthday as well are still young...

  6. Lovely and wrenching, Joe. I too chose to post a poem about my own trauma and early recovery and then last night added something about 9/11.

    Every loss matters. I've said elsewhere that the spectacular as in spectacle nature of this day grinds away at us and it is very difficult to do it justice. xxxj

  7. I won't clutter this comment box with a lot of cliche--you've cut through that in your poem, and presented us with loss on a different but no less important level, finely drawn and well connected to that other loss we none of us will ever alter.

  8. Powerful piece, really a different take then what I've seen. Very well done and weaving in your birthday as the backdrop was a very nice touch. Happy belated birthday too.

  9. Very different than those I have read so far. So personal, yet, tearing still at the memories of so many.

  10. powerful words here. I hope you had a good birthday yesterday. In this poem I feel the loss and sadness on many levels.

  11. You've shared a personal connection to the event that I think many of us can relate to. Such a sad memory, Joe. I hope this year's birthday brought some joy to you.

  12. a personal insight that was touching of you to share. I must have my husband read this as his birthday is approaching and he has gotten into a funk about it.

  13. May the day come where happier memories flood your birthday.

    Beautifully, sorrowfully written. A poem from within the poet.