Posts Tagged ‘history’


By David Allen

The past went up in flames last night
lighting up the Paris sky.
A pyre birthing a billowing plume of smoke
as eight centuries of human religious
and engineering history rose to heaven
as bystanders sang sad hymns.

An accident during renovation
resulted in the devastation
and only the massive stone outer walls
with flying buttresses survived.
The gross gargoyles perched on the walls,
protecting the Gothic treasure from outside forces,
failed to scare away the danger from within.

Destruction of the famous place of prayer
preyed on the hearts of those who watched
in person or a world away glued to their TVs.
An ocean away, Americans cried and flooded
social media with their photo memories
of grander days visiting the world’s most famous church.
“Our Lady of Paris is in flames,” the French President cried.
“It’s sad to see this part of us has burned.”

The architectural wonder has seen fire and destruction in the past —
Protestant factions vandalized it several times,
smashing stained glass windows and ripping heads off statues.
And in the wake of the French Revolution, it was used
as a sanctuary and food warehouse for the poor.
But it was always rebuilt and rose in stature as a World Heritage site.
Officials shook their heads when the flames were doused,
announcing they would not know for weeks
what art treasures and religious relics were lost or
whether the cathedral would ever rise from the ashes.

How ironic the fire came during the Holy Easter week.

A Memory 1

By David Allen

JFK is being buried
And we have a day off from high school.
Hanging around Jim’s house
Watching the funeral procession on the tube.
Thirsty, we raid Jim’s fridge against his wishes;
Someone forgets to close the door.
Upset, Jim pushes the door closed.
I move away, but the door’s ajar;
So he pushes harder. Resistance. Angry,
Jim shoves his body against the door.
The kitten’s head is crushed,
All she wanted was the milk
She smelled as I rummaged for a Coke.

(Perhaps curiosity Killed this cat.)

The cat’s half dead,
Jim tries to put her to sleep
With his truck’s exhaust.
She mews meekly and clings to life,
Her head cocked at an unnatural angle.
So, Jim digs a hole for his sister’s cat,
Her precious, and gently places her in it
And presses down hard on her neck
With the shovel blade in one last act of mercy,
As JFK’s body is laid to rest.

We go back inside and watch
John John give that brave salute
As his dad’s flag-draped casket passes by.