Paris 1944, 2004

entry picture

‘Tenez bon. Nous arrivons,’

the liberators told the restless Resistance

in messages dropped from the sky.

 

Von Choltitz held firm, defying

Hitler’s demand to fire the city.

‘Come quickly,’ he urged the Allies.

 

Laval and Petain fled as Paris rose;

hundreds died before the ceasefire.

Sixty years on, our Friday Eurostar

 

from Waterloo packed with rugby fans.

The hotel room near

the Place de la Bastille,

 

much smaller than it seemed on the web.

No matter. A late, North African

meal; a boy, bread under his arm,

 

skipping down the street;

kids and their dads sailing boats

in the Luxembourg gardens.

 

Sunday morning, stumbling upon

three young men in the square

playing Django rhythms,

 

guitar, double-bass, accordion.

Intoxicating, alive, the kind

of music that made my father cry.

 

He was a far-east prisoner in 44.

I wept, too. The spirit of Paris,

and much more besides.

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Comments

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Greg Freeman

Wed 29th Jan 2020 23:19

Cheers, Ray. And well done to the Villa in reaching the League Cup final. You never know ...

penguin

Wed 29th Jan 2020 16:22

Nice poem, Greg. Prompted me to google Von Choltitz, which was interesting.

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