The Steps of Montmartre
By Alex Grant
– after Brassai's 1936 photograph
On the steps of Sacre Coeur
Cathedral, in that same winter
when junge leute filled Bavarian
beer-gardens, ten years before
Adorno proclaimed that there
could be no art after Auschwitz,
Brassai captured his flawless
image. Through the tunnel
formed by the parting trees,
battalions of lamp-posts advance
and retreat in the morning mizzle,
clamp chain-link handrails hard
into sunwashed cobbles. In less
than a year, the corpseless heads
on Nanking's walls will coalesce
with Guernica's ruined heart, mal
du siècle will become Weltschmerz,
and the irresistible symmetry
of a million clacking bootheels
will deafen half a continent.
The red brush never dries -
adagio leads finally to fugue,
haiku to satori, and the image
fixed in silver to remembering.
I forgot to post any poetry for Shakespeare's birthday, St. George's Day, or Yom Ha'atzmaut, so I'm just sticking with Montmartre themes to go with the photos. Thursday here was cool but lovely, overcast but with so many pink and yellow trees in the neighborhood that it looked beautiful anyway. My mother invited me out to lunch and since Kay and I had to postpone because of Take Your Child To Work Day -- her son wanted to go to work -- I went with my mother to Mykonos, where we had terrific spanakopita, grape leaves, and stuffed mushrooms. Then we did a bit of shop-browsing (meaning that apart from an entirely gratuitous $9 crystal wind chime, the most exciting thing I bought was shampoo).
My family has discovered to our horror that Verizon does not get the CW On Demand, meaning that we can't watch The Flash episode we missed this week without sitting around a computer, woe! I showed Paul The Tonight Show from last night so he could hear Russell and Jimmy sing "Balls In Your Mouth," then we watched Dig (the Jesus Clones are MEAN! And I can't believe I'm more worried about the cow than half the people). Here are some photos of Paris's Basilique du Sacré-Coeur, which does not allow photos in the sanctuary but does in the crypt (sorry about St. Denis always missing his head, that happened on the hill of Montmartre where the basilica now stands), and the path to the cemetery far below.