Snapshots from Paris
and on the street
an argument in a different language
but its sounds the same:
you don’t you don’t you don’t.
A dog barks sharp
and high because that old peeping tom moon
has swum through his window.
That moment – crossing the bridge where the Seine divides;
Notre Dame, the tourist boats, a bride’s dress
making a flurry of light on grey stones
and opposite the shock of orange shutters
shading eighteenth century windows.
Outside the gates of the theatre
a small campsite grows slowly ̶ from one tent
to three, a cardboard cave and
a Rottweiler who doesn’t seem to like
where he’s washed up in this city.
I give my change to the women with children –
as short-leashed as the dogs on these foreign streets.
Monks and nuns cross the rue Geoffrey d’Asniers
sandaled feet humble on the cobbles
while at the Memoriale de Shoah
a tourist guide waits as her flock
stare at the unfinished list of the dead.
Today I saw a new husband tenderly gather up
his wife’s wedding dress as though it were all the children
they would have and he had to carry them to safety.
Seeing the photos on Facebook, kids will ask their parents,
but did you know her?
It was just the way they were so small,
do you remember, darling?
Notre Dame loomed behind them.
She took her stilettos off and walked in thongs
from one photo to the next. Her dress glittered
and she did, spilling over his arms.
Were we like that
do you remember?
Catherine Bateson, August 2013.
Check out the Tuesday Poem blogspot - this week with a witty, affectionate snapshot of the changing world we live in, 'Where' by Paula Morris, edited by Renate Liang. Do scroll down and see Renate Liang's own poem, 'From Where' sounding a darker counterpoint to the same question.
From the Tuesday poem hub you can crisscross the world of Tuesday poems and you don't even need a map!