Friday, September 11, 2009

Poetry Friday: "Photograph from September 11"

I believe that good poetry moves us; it reminds us of how human we are because it reminds us of our capacity to feel. And this poem uses its words so well; it makes its readers pause and remember and feel many things--it is powerful and painful and vivid, and the last stanza positively aches. I hope you do not mind my sharing it.

Photograph from September 11

by Wislawa Szymborska

They jumped from the burning floors—
one, two, a few more,
higher, lower.

The photograph halted them in life,
and now keeps them
above the earth toward the earth.

Each is still complete,
with a particular face
and blood well hidden.

There’s enough time
for hair to come loose,
for keys and coins
to fall from pockets.

They’re still within the air’s reach,
within the compass of places
that have just now opened.

I can do only two things for them—
describe this flight
and not add a last line.