The Tiger's Eye: The day my eyes were opened

11 September 2006

The day my eyes were opened


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.

A poem by Wislawa Szymborska, winner of the 1996 Nobel Prize for Literature. (Hat tip: LittleGreenFootballs.)