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Thursday, 4 October, 2001, 10:59 GMT 11:59 UK
Reflecting on the attacks
Rescue worker on bench
A fire-fighter rests on a dust-covered bench
To mark National Poetry Day, Mario Petrucci, the poet-in-residence at the Imperial War Museum, has recorded a work for BBC News Online.

Because the events of 11 September were so harrowing - and because pain and anger are still so close to the surface - Petrucci says he saw nothing poetic in the burning towers. Instead, he wrote Late September to reflect the sense of the vulnerability of life.

Listen to the poem by clicking here.

Or, read the poem for yourself, below.

Explaining his poem, Petrucci says: "World events filter through to most of us through the slight and personal - those very things we may see in a fresh light when so much is threatened. And they can help us.

Mario Petrucci
Mario Petrucci: "These events are still too close"
"Before fear and threat become reality - if they ever do - they materialise in small things: a phone ringing, someone's view in the pub, a rumour on the net.

"A fragile sapling, or a spider in its web, can bear enormous emotional and metaphorical weight. It is in this spirit that I offer Late September."


There'd been dew. Maybe a light rain.
And a blot drew my eye to that plot of light
through my kitchen window. Closer. I saw

the pincer legs measure out each wire. That
pause of the abdomen, pot-backed, before it dipped
to spot-weld each link. I took a chair outside

to stand on. Craned. I wanted to live.
It let me place a fingertip on the brown velvet
of its back, brush against the nap, and again, until

it froze mid-air, eight legs outstretched, still
as a child roused from a trance of play. There
the same creature I'd raise my slipper to,

waylay across carpet to end in a smudge.
I wouldn't have it in my hand. In my hair.
Yet it - she - went to all that length to snare

mosquito and bluebottle, those who might ruin
a soup, or blood. Hours. For once I persevered,
took the time. Saw her radii complete, strung high

between window and washing line. How
a twist of cells can work such wonder, where
a poet's words don't reach. Spider just does. Reads

the angles - but not the freak impending thunder,
its blown-up swarms of birds. Everywhere. Birds
swooping for spiders. I feared something might

skim, unknowing, through that hard-earned web.
A swift perhaps, impossibly late. I saw spider
prey. Hung there, in her patch of unsafe sky.

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