16 September 2010

16 septembre/poem


Petit Ouverture 

The black blade of la péniche cuts along the ribbons of green, liquid light—
a ripple, the barge’s before and after, beyond the rounded point of
the Quai de Bourbon, pinned by a solitary plane tree leaning over the Seine.

Like a pendulum commissioned by the roi, Notre Dame’s needled spire
rises in perfect alignment above, a gothic reminder of the line
dropped from God’s eye to anchor the Île de la Cité into this
otherwise floating, shimmering apparition of September light.

A petit ouverture, then, for a day yet to unfurl its suite of dances:
first like steps down my four flights of spiraling stair, then across
the cobbled courtyard to the awaiting salle de répétition.
The traffic’s clatter all Charpentier: fanfare and happy drone.
From my window, a bicyclist, a motorcade, a homeless clown
with his clothing strewn on the sidewalk below.

Things present themselves then multiply in the thickening air.
Another barge going the opposite direction and if I reach for mes lunettes,
I can regard a quartet of peaceful étudiants sitting cross-legged at the foot of the tree.
Le jour commence. Le rideau se lève.