Monday, May 6, 2019

Notre Dame's Last Singer

Our Lady, you are our noblest hero,
we swing our incense smoke for your reply
from the paradise in which you supply
our needs and our commands, how blithely so
do we insist on our own proven low
calculations, buying time on earth by
earning sterile bleak favours from God. My
home torn asunder with each gothic blow,
I was on my knees now to watch the fire
bludgeon the sky with inhuman cruelty.
We sang as city incarnadine burned,
with its altruistic Catholic spire;
we wept as Christ's face in ash was beauty,
as against us the broken stone face turned.

Emily Isaacson

Thursday, May 2, 2019

From the Ashes of Notre Dame

I crossed myself and stood at the altar,
eternity wound around my finger:
the crushed moment of my solemn singer
was the moment when the burned stone faltered.
I cannot ask for more from Gibraltar,
but for one of these little ones, ringer
of the bells that call them home, rise linger
on the sweetened isle, fading light loiters
as the peals repeat and resound, silence
breaking at the notion of sound's fury.
The burnished cathedral has fallen, died;
attic to cellar smoke with violence,
the steeple tied to the dead we bury
when the beating steel heart of Paris cried.

Emily Isaacson