It’s written on the Metro car walls; it’s written on the street signs; it’s written on the tombs at Pere Lachaise Cemetery.
“L’individu qui pense contre la sociéte qui dort, voilá l’histoire éternelle et le printemps aura toujours le meme hiver à vaincre.” This from a Metro car wall, not signed by the poet, or did he plagiarize it from someone else? I am easily fooled, as I have never seen this thought before. My raw translation: “For he who thinks poorly of a sleeping society—consider the eternal story of spring always having the same winter to overcome.”
I walk the streets of Paris; I walk everywhere. As I walk I roll the Paris street names off my tongue. I love the sound of the street names. My French is good enough to pronounce them correctly. I love the sound of French. My Paris street name poem may not make any sense but it gives me pleasure to string it out as I walk my route: Boulevard Saint Germain, Rue de la Seine, Rue de la Université, Avenue de la Bourdonnais, Avenue Gustave Eiffel and voilà I’m at the Tour Eiffel. I always take a different route back—different street
Balzac & Me
At Pere Lachaise Cemetery
names of course.
And today I walked to the Père Lachaise Cemetery. I paid respects to Molière, Honoré de Balzac, the Doors’ Jim Morrison, Chopin, Sarah Bernhardt, Edith Piaf among others of great renown now gone. But leave it to Oscar Wilde to have the best poetry on the back of his tomb.
“--And alien tears will fill for him
--Pity’s long broken urn
--For his mourners will be outcast men
--And outcasts always mourn”
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