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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Write in the HISTORICAL genre (05/03/07)

TITLE: Lockdown at Wapping School
By Venice Kichura


The phone rang for a subbing job. I thought and said, “Okay.”
I grabbed my subbing bag and drove to Wapping School that day.

I quickly scanned the lesson plans for all that was in store,
As chatty five and six-year-olds tore through the classroom door.

It was a clear September morn---why should we stay inside?
I told the kids, “First, morning work, then, play on swings and slide.”

The kids lined up, then marched outdoors; soon recess time was o’er.
I blew my whistle one more time, although they wanted more.

We trudged back into class at ten, for reading to begin,
When suddenly we heard a buzz; the principal broke in.

He said, “All teachers, lock your doors; it’s lockdown at our school.”
Though terrified, I forced a smile; I told myself, Stay cool.

Then minutes later, we were told that aides would take each class,
So teachers could walk out their doors, then to the gym, they’d pass.

I headed for the gym and prayed, “Please keep us safe from harm,”
While thinking, What has happened here To bring our school alarm?

With anxious eyes we sat in dread from shocking news we heard---
Both World Trade Towers had collapsed; it seemed unreal, absurd.

As we learned how commercial planes had crashed into the Tow’rs,
We shuddered in Connecticut---just north, about two hours.

“But that was only just the start,” the principal went on,
“A plane crashed through the Pentagon and more lives, now are gone.

”We learned another plane went down on Pennsylvania ground.
I moaned aloud, in disbelief, prayed, Angels, please surround!.

“Do not let on or tell the kids the news that you’ve been told.”
The principal admonished us, “Just carry on---be bold.”

Some parents came to get their kids before the day was through.
The terror in their eyes revealed what Wapping staff now knew.

A boy remaining in my class worked on his lump of clay,
Then asked, “How come some kids went home so early in the day?”

“Their mothers must have missed them, son,” I searched for a reply.
‘Twas hard to act as “all was well;” I wanted just to cry.

At last, the day drew to a close, I left and groaned within.
But as I drove back to my home, I let the tears begin.

In shock, I turned my TV on, and saw before my eyes,
New Yorkers fleeing frantically, black soot filled up their skies.

”Is this the tribulation, Lord?” I wailed, “Will it grow worse?”
I later opened up God’s Word, to find a soothing verse.

I opened to the book of Psalms, at chapter forty-six.
It read, “Be still, know I am God.”

On Him I shall transfix.

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This article has been read 1145 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Linda Germain 05/10/07
It doesn't seem possible 5 and 1/2 years have already passed since this sad but historic moment. My child was 16 at the time and I guess I didn't think how the little ones might be affected and the difficult job the teachers would have explaining. Thanks for the reminder.God Bless all teachers~
Cassie Memmer05/11/07
Painful subject, beautifully written. Excellent meter, no stumbles here. It flowed extrememely well.
Joanne Sher 05/11/07
This absolutely grabbed me and didn't let go. Excellent reminder of the pain so many of us went through.
Sharlyn Guthrie05/14/07
I've read many accounts of that awful day, but this was superb in every way. After all the anxious thoughts, I just love your ending.
Jan Ackerson 05/14/07
Great job with the rhyme, the meter, and the story-telling was quite compelling.

The only jarring note was the last word: you needed it for the rhyme, but "transfix" doesn't really have the meaning you were going for, I don't think.

This chilling poem really brought back memories, and points us to the only source of comfort and hope. Nicely done.