On Seeing a Certain Actress in Paris

The French sound of your name, and the French sound in your words,
            fire all the sounds, and start a new harmony –
Rimbaud. What is it even about the gutters of Paris?
But you are not a gutter of Paris. First daughter of the Western Church, 
            sun-setting beauty behind the Alps,
They even moved the papal seat behind your skirts. 
So here I am, old reader of Baudelaire and Verlaine, 
Both long-forgotten until your flashlight face dazzled my eyes,
and your lilting feminine chime entered my ears. 
I am come to the miraculous statue, moving painting in the Louvre,
A ballade in flesh, a pure whore from the pages of Villon. 
I have come for you, old thief and fire stealer, in a melting yesteryear
            of snows.

3 comments

  1. Mark,

    I am reading this from the perspective of
    “where are the snows from yesteryear?”.

    but, I came to that conclusion only after a quick
    reading of Villon’s poem.

    There are many clues in this finely writ riddle.
    I even considered that it was not a person
    but an age that was addressed.

    This Inquiring mind wants to know!

    sarah

    Happy New Year!

    Like

  2. Hi Mark

    An intriguing and beautifully constructed poem! I am guessing this actress is a historic icon as well perhaps, as a personification of the theatre, of the art of acting, the spirit of the craft that was both revered and yet condemened by a rigid and often morally narrow society. Whatever her composition maybe, of flesh or of imaginative spirit or both, this poems haunts with its exceptionally crafted language and mystery.

    First daughter of the Western Church,

    sun-setting beauty behind the Alps,

    They even moved the papal seat behind your skirts.

    So here I am, old reader of Baudelaire and Verlaine,

    Both long-forgotten until your flashlight face dazzled my eyes,

    and your lilting feminine chime entered my ears.

    I am come to the miraculous statue, moving painting in the Louvre,

    A ballade in flesh, a pure whore from the pages of Villon

    Really enjoyed this,
    Happy New Year
    Wendy

    Like

  3. This has a feel of the speaker being pulled
    into another place and time.

    “Not a gutter of Paris”
    Rimbaud was known to live in what some people
    considered the gutters of Paris. And metaphorical gutters.
    He sort of believed in suffering for art.

    France is the first daughter
    of the western church.

    I like the image of the papal seat behind the skirts
    (When it was moved to France for a bit in history?)

    The use of fire stealer brought me back to the line re
    fire all the sounds and Rimbaud.

    Very much enjoyed the read.

    take care,
    Kerri

    Like

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