An ode.it reads:
When the falling man came downa postscript is here written:
As bread cast upon the sea of city
Do we then offer him our pity
That he set his face to the unfeeling ground?
What kind of heart is taken then
To gaze into the bleak faceless sky
With not even a tear for the eye
And make good of a certain end?
In this, glorious tragic life
It is the soul they cannot kill
For with a courageous, defiant will
He cleaves the air as would a knife;
All heroism must some time come to this
Happily ever after is beyond the door
In one act the soulless world abhor
And taste freedom once as bliss;
Do we not here catch a prophecy,
A figure set twixt north and south
An oracle who opens not his mouth
Who in a moment cuts through the tragedy?
And those monstrous towers fell
So great and inhuman they devoured men
Those without and those within
Except this figure broke their spell?
We must misunderstand his choice
Do we think he threw his life away?
But it was already forfeit on that day
And announced victory without a voice;
He is the symbol of life lived toward death
The grace of his dive ten seconds long
Is by but image's trick made strong
Though its life spanned a single breath?
He cannot be welcomed or understood
By his death he does not bring benefit
He does not argue for a social net
Or life free of suffering as we would;
Forced to choose between dying in fire
Huddled, choked of human dignity
Judged by harsh Muslim rapacity
AN EYE FOR AN EYE they must require;
He does what every true man must finally do
For he must suffer the lawless men
And prolong life through death's dark end
And then see all made new
You greet my words with thoughtful frown
But what is worth the deepest pity
That does not love the virtue amid the city
When the falling man came down?
See the Esquire article, 'The Falling Man'. His identity was eventually discovered, but the picture, long absorbed as an emotional, and perhaps spiritual truth, pertains not to him, but to the symbol he formed in the chance moment in which he turned the darkest fate into bright destiny.