L’imagination pouvoir.

IMG_0486_2“No to Vietnam! No to tradition!”

In 1968, students barricade Place Maubert

tearing up the cobblestones

stoning police that march

shoulder to shoulder toward them.

The students may forget the year 1588,

the first revolt and barricades of Paris

but not the journalist.


Now, the locals drink at the cafe

in once the filthiest street in Paris,

when the putrid waste of the Sorbonne

flowed down the lanes

where 800 years ago the masters of divinity

lectured their students

who sat on bales of hay even in the rain

so hungry were they for news of God.


A fountain shines now under the sycamores

and the aged and women with babies

sit on the benches where 600 years ago

Francois I, the King, burned alive the Lutherans

ignoring their screams

and generation after generation watched

the executions in this “cesspool of Maubert.”


Now, the sounds of a rugby match

echo in the plaza from the bar

the Frenchmen make their only goal,

and all stand and sing the Marseilles badly.

Even the one scribbling on a paper

joins in shouting out the chorus


“To arms, citizens!
Form up your battalions
Let us march, Let us march
That their impure blood
Should water our fields.”


Now the water trickles from the stone mouths of lions

on the crown of the hill

water runs down toward the Seine

through the gutters along each street

past the fromagerie, the patisserie,

the charcuterie, the bottles of wine stacked in pyramids,

and in one window of the cafe,

a woman bends over a notebook

her hair in disarray as she writes of Place Maubert

as if the world could not see her steady hand

planning the next revolution.


FEWalls 2005

About trillium24

“Art is a lie that makes us realize truth at least the truth that is given us to understand ... " Pablo Picasso
This entry was posted in Poems & Photographs and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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