THE PHOTOGRAPH, 1945
Time has not dulled its shock. More than half a century has passed Since first I came upon the image. And still I see it in my mind’s eye, And freshly feel it stab my once-young soul, grown old. Glasses. A mountain of eyeless glasses. Captured in a flash for all eternity. How many, I asked myself then and still ask now? Ten thousand? Fifty thousand? Ten times fifty thousand? How many eyeglasses does it take to build a tower reaching half-way up to an unseeing God? Once fragile objects treated with care that perched on the noses of myopic yeshiva students, of far-sighted old men, of visionary poets, of astigmatic tailors, of squinting young girls— They’re piled up, impossibly high. Mute witnesses, they stare out, Accusing an indifferent world. In its deep silence, the tower spoke to me, More than fifty years ago. It has been my abacus. It has taught me to count to Six Million. And time has not dimmed its eloquence.