A number of unifying ideas or themes run through the poem. Different readers may attach more or less significance to each of these themes, depending upon how they view the poem.
|Power: this poem refers to the power of paper to change things and to record our memories.||'this/ is what could alter things.'||Even the most delicate kinds of paper can record the most important details - of family life, national borders or financial transactions.|
|Instability: the speaker suggests that paper (used as a metaphor for buildings) is at the mercy of greater forces, such as the weather.||'might fly our lives like paper kites'||The simile (a comparison using 'like' or 'as' to create a vivid image) suggests that our lives are not always in our control, but more like kites being blown by the wind.|
|Human essence: this poem compares the significance and fragility of paper documents to the fleeting nature of building structures.||'how easily/ they fall away on a sigh,'/ 'turned into your skin.'||The essence of human beings can outlast even things that seem permanent but have collapsed, like large buildings.|
How does the poet make the connection between paper and human life?