Was its best face seen from
the Quai de la Tournelle,
Pont de L’Archeveche,
or Square Jean XXIII?
Whether the proboscis of facade
or the gothic grey body worded
and etched from the bookseller’s stalls
on the Quai de Montebello,
every look was different.
An arch of neck brought one up
its twin towers and shunned down
the spouting gaff of gargoyles.
Its rose window bloomed before the Seine
while pigeons peripatetic gathered
en masse before a statue of Charlemagne.
A man bedecked in the
beauty of his language
asked for francs, a baguette,
and then, when none were offered,
simply said, bonjour.
Like the countenance of its people,
that lean church beveled
its spire to the sky.
As Emmanuel tolled
solemnly the moment when
Christ died, the Elysian arms of
Our Lady buttressed
the man’s tired hands.
And all Paris
foamed in the wake of a bateau-mouche.
Patrick Vitullo is a writer, poet, essayist, and world traveler who lives in Havertown, PA. He was awarded the 1979 John T. Fredericks Prize in Literary Criticism by the University of Notre Dame where he graduated with a B.A. in liberal arts. He also has a law degree from Villanova University and limits his law practice to representation of injured workers. Patrick has been published in The Philadelphia Inquirer and The Antigonish Review.
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