Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Life Begin Again

It's a day shy of the 7th anniversary of the attacks on September 11. I wasn't going to write anything about this dark day in our nation's history. We have moved on and adjusted to a new way of life. We do not mourn in the same way or to the same degree anymore. When politicians sprinkle speeches with reference to 9/11, their tired words are met with yawns, rolling eyes and irritation by the public. We have once again returned to our cocoons and care more about the mudslinging going on in the race for the Oval Office than we do about each other. We are not unified as we were at that moment in time.

I was not in the New York that day; however, I was at work, 11 miles away, on the Jersey side, and watched plumes of dark smoke waft over the city, cutting into the crystal blue sky, in horror. I was a ball of nerves when I could not get in touch with friends who did work or live in the city. The music lover that I am turned her radio off for weeks. I had friends lose close relatives, neighbors lose spouses. We all have our stories. We have a shared yet individual experience. We have our memories of that day.

The Volume 3:Further in Time by Afro Celt Sound System was released just a few months earlier in June 2001 and was on heavy rotation on my CD player. It was eerie how the song "Life Begin Again", almost literally, captured the emotion and environment of those days immediately after the attacks. With simple yet poignant lyrics sung by Robert Plant, and interspersed with an excerpt from a traditional Welsh ballad "The Lark's Elegy" ("Marwnad yr Ehedydd"), balancing the thunder and soft sorrow over "Middle Eastern" strings, it still gives me chills. When I learned of the translation of the Welsh lyrics (scroll to the end of this post), my heart returned to my throat.


This is the day, and the hour
The time where the changing begins
The land, and the sky, fall quiet
Silence moves over the plain

The heat of Cwymhr still burning
The heart still beating within
Her songs echoed the fallen
For life to begin again

This is the day and the hour
The time where the changing begins

Land and the sky fallen silent

Quiet moves o'er the plain

Quiet moves o'er the plain
The silence moves over the plain

The land and sky fall quiet
The heart is beating within
Her song echoes calling
For life to begin again
For light to begin again
Translation of the Welsh verses from "The Lark's Elegy":

Mi a glywais fod yr hedydd
Wedi marw ar y mynydd;
Pe gwyddwn i mai gwir y geirie,
Awn â gyr o wŷr ac arfe
I gyrchu corff yr hedydd adre.

I have heard that the lark
Has died on the mountain;
If I knew the words to be true,
I would take a band of armed men
To bring the lark’s body home.

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