Survivor Tree by Joan McNerney

NY cpenler licensed

Survivor Tree
May 2011
by Joan McNerney

There in core of the
World Trade Center
this pear tree stands.

It grew from ash of bodies
clasping hands falling in air.

Cared for by those who
believe in life.

Now reaching for heaven
despite the hatred of men
screaming in streets.

Look how sunlight touches
each leaf. Think of
every leaf being
completely unique.

There are none so blind
who will not see all that
has been given to us.

PHOTO: The Survivor Tree at the National 9/11 Memorial in Lower Manhattan, New York City, with World Trade Center Tower One in the background. Photo by CPenler, used by permission.

 NOTE: A Callery pear tree became known as the “Survivor Tree” after enduring the September 11, 2001 terror attacks at the World Trade Center.  In October 2001, a severely damaged tree was discovered at Ground Zero, with snapped roots and burned and broken branches. The tree was removed from the rubble and placed in the care of the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation. After its recovery and rehabilitation, the tree was returned to the Memorial in 2010. New, smooth limbs extended from the gnarled stumps, creating a visible demarcation between the tree’s past and present. Today, the tree stands as a living reminder of resilience, survival, and rebirth. (Source:


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Joan McNerney’s poetry is found in many literary magazines, such as Seven Circle Press, Dinner with the Muse, Poet Warriors, Blueline, and Halcyon Days, as well as in four Bright Hills Press anthologies, several editions of the  Poppy Road Review, and numerous Spectrum Publications.  Her latest title, The Muse In Miniature, is available on and  She has four Best of the Net nominations.

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