June 26th, 2013
Before the Leap
In 2002, Brian Doyle, an editor for the Portland Magazine, wrote the critically acclaimed poem, “Leap”, in remembrance of the victims September 11th, 2001. Brian has also authored ten major books including The Grail, The Wet Engine, and the novel, Mink River. Doyle has written numerous essays and poems since 1999 including Credo, Saints Passionate & Peculiar, and Two Voices. Additionally, Doyle’s books have been finalists four times for the coveted Oregon Book Award and his essays have been featured in publications like The American Scholar, Harpers, and The Atlantic Monthly.
Upon reading the title of the poem, “Leap”, by hailed author, Brian Doyle, and considering the title of the section in the text book, “Faith and Doubt”, I was thinking the poem would, more or less, concern taking the proverbial “leap of faith”. I was wrong. The poem revolves around the actual physical action of one leaping out into the air, more specifically, those “jumpers” who consciously made the incredible decision to leap from the blazing conditions in the Twin Towers to their deaths on September 11th, 2001.
Doyle used a fair amount of imagery to add an incredible level of depth and to provide readers with a terrifying mental picture of that horrific day in America. Consider one of the opening lines describing the sight, “Many People Jumped. Perhaps hundreds. No one knows. They struck the pavement with such force that there was a pink mist in the air.” (1168). Doyle effectively implemented figurative language throughout the poem to provide the full effect of being a shell-shocked, stunned bystander at the sight of 9/11. Additionally, Doyle told of “A kindergarten boy who saw people falling in flames told his teacher that the birds were on fire.” (1168). This use of imagery made me feel as though I was there.
I believe the author used the “couple” in the