Some fishermen pulled a bottle from the deep. In it was a scrap of paper, on which were written the words: "Someone save me! Here I am. The ocean has cast me up on a desert island. I am standing on the shore waiting for help. Hurry. Here I am!"

"There is no date. Surely it is too late by now. The bottle could have been floating in the sea a long time," said the first fisherman.

"And the place is not indicated. We do not even know which ocean," said the second fisherman.

"It is neither too late nor too far. The island called Here is everywhere," said the third fisherman.

They all felt uneasy. A silence fell. So it is with universal truths.


“Parable” by Wisława Szymborksa from MAP: COLLECTED AND LOST POEMS, translated from the Polish by Stanislaw Baranczak and Clare Cavangh. English translation copyright © 2015 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Reprinted by permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.