(A Concert at St. Julien le Pauvre)
Reluctant Stones pried from the earth,
moistened by the sweat of artisans,
bathed in the tears of pilgrims,
stained with the blood of martyrs,
and caressed by the smoke of vagrant prayers.
Tonight you will echo Chopin
in the shadow of Notre Dame.
Once, shelter for seekers and the dispossessed;
now, a daytime diversion en route to grander sights.
Tourists rattle through, point and exclaim,
“The blood looks so real.”
Amusement for cameras.
But tonight’s seekers will creep down your rutted aisle
to settle in creaking chairs and whisper to the
flicker of candles.
Polite applause will greet the proud maestro.
A final rustle, then silent anticipation
rewarded by the benevolent weave of a Barcarolle,
transported into the sheltering arms of St. Francis
in his warm, golden frame.
Annunciation draws the rhythm of Valse, and He sups
minor Nocturne brings the Virgin to tears,
her grief embracing the glimmering moment.
L’Etude Révolutionnaire is not on the program, but
L’Adieu, impossible, is somehow accomplished.
The stones will remember