Poem for Remembering 9-11

Photo by Richard Drew

Friday – Anniversary of 9-11

Nobel Prize-winning poet Wisława Szymborska has written one of the most powerful poems about 9-11, focusing on Richard Drew’s never-to-be-forgotten “falling man” photo. As Poetry Foundation points out, “By not adding a last line and by not giving the poem its expected (and easy) closure, Szymborska keeps the work open, the wound fresh.”  

Photograph from September 11

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.
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