Paris in the Spring
We set out hopefully,
hitching our way to Paris,
in the spring.
And we made it, even
found the recommended hostel near Laumiere,
Though a little disconcerted to be
met with a closed door
covered in signs which read
‘FULL’ in every known language,
we went in anyway.
‘Of course we’re not full
at this early hour’.
‘Anyway, no one is ever turned away’.
They were planning a demonstration,
a rehearsal for May 1968,
but of course,
none of us knew that then.
We could join if we wished,
but of course,
we were too early,
even for the rehearsal.
It was only April.
Just three days
in April
in Paris.
We had coffee on the Champs Elysee
and were shown Notre Dame
by someone we met there
and then sat on the steps of Sacre Coeur
to eat our French bread lunch.
We held up the traffic at the Arc de Triumph,
triumphantly succeeding in crossing the roads.
And at the hostel the next day
we did our best to be helpful,
getting up early (too cold to sleep),
and cleaned the kitchen and the floor
for the first time in many years.
Then we sat on the stairs
and said ‘No Pasaran’ to everyone,
until it had dried,
explaining carefully in languages we did not speak,
why this was necessary.
It was a just long weekend our April in Paris.
It felt like it would last for ever.

The Big Book Of Poetry


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