Paris: Fear But a Rowdy Intruder


People lay flowers for terror attacks victims in Paris : News Photo

By Bill Simons

Every year we go to Paris.

Every year we’re inspired.

Time and again we find ourselves musing on its mystery.

Paris is poetry.

Now, again, the great capital has been struck a brutal blow. Chaos and horror.

Still, amidst the insanity, the Seine flows quiet, free of blood.

While ruinous rubble clutters, memories remain.

The magic of this place defies the evil explosions of twisted intent. Our joys, our delights, refuse to be denied.

Here is our 2004 appreciation of this haven for lovers, this town of wonder – this place they call Paris.


The city knows – ancient and true.

Time tested, weather wise.

Towering cathedrals

Totter, centuries old.

Silent walls inform.

Endless apartments, laced with iron,

Stand sturdy, guarded by flittering curtains,

Bleached tired by too many days of thankless duty.

This town celebrates its night.

Midnight lovers whisper their secrets of glee.

Still Paris embraces the morning

The sun kisses one,

Then a thousand alleys.

Bumpy backstreets carved crooked

Lanes relentlessly twisting upon themselves.

Here the backpacker

Fresh from distant adventures

Strides past a homeless heap.

Beneath the untouchable’s blanket

Another saga of loss.

But, too, there is triumph…

Paris’ heady boulevards revel in their giddy swirl

Cobblestone chic.

As pinstriped CEOs craft their MBA deals

Galleries define style.

The Champs-Élysées splashes color, breezy bright.

Runways and riches shamelessly tease our desire,

Demanding their day.

The Armani man stands elegant,

His chatty lady scented sweet.

Such glowing trophies, a flawless brood

Free of taint or stain.

Still, the river runs murky green,

A thousand wine-stained cafes

Welcome the weathered poet,

Solemn sage – martyr or madman –

Pilgrim of the spirit.

Saddened soul – empty, near defeat –

Bravely stiffens to endure.

So, tell me your tale of tattered dreams,

Unmask your sadness – wander free –

Fear’s but a rowdy intruder.

Reveal your fate

Your solitary secret – those numbing losses

Tempered by time’s touch.

Always the pain – still, memories enrich

While Paris’ mystery remains –

Glittering bride, weary mistress

Every temptress flaunts her allure

With singsong words that dance, then scold –

The muse’s message.

For this city, ancient and true, knows.

Destinies unfold,

Quiet journeys going nowhere

And everywhere

Only our fragile dreams can imagine.

Photo: Geoffroy Van der Hasselt/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images