I remember a summer day before the war, when I met, rare in any land, who completely deserve the name, so disparaged these days, of a “person of note.” I had caught a large dragonfly, malachite, turquoise, gauze and mother of pearl, and I showed it to him. This eminent man gave it a look, and predictable comment: “very pretty.”
Then he started to pay attention, pointed to part of the creature: the eyes, the enormous eyes, those two iridescent globes, unfathomable, those jewels where reflections played, reflections of water and azure, all the colors of the universe.
“What is that?”
“That? Those are just its eyes…”
He leaned over, gazed passionately: “its eyes? Are you sure? Do you mean that all dragonflies have eyes like that? It seems to me I would have seen them before, wouldn’t I? Its eyes?”
He took the creature, touched it lightly with his hand, and when he gave it back to me, murmured to himself: “Look at that. Things like that exist, and we don’t even know. We have to tell people about it, we have to let people know about these eyes…”
The fervor, the wonder of the discovery appeared on his face, so new and so gentle, and communicative, that I truly had the impression that he was the one who had just invented, to bequeath them to the world, the eyes of the dragonfly.
(recently came across this in Orion Magazine, an excerpt adapted from Shipwrecked on a Traffic Island and Other Previously Untranslated Gems, available in November 2014)