Amid a city of grey slate roofs
I had painted my slate white,
Washing everything I had been,
Had seen, had loved and lost.
Those old fears fell from me
Like Fall’s gentle snowflakes
As I stood on foreign soil,
In a foreign land, with foreign rain
Covering me and foreign words
Falling all around me and fearing
Nothing more than the possibilities
That lay await on front of me.
In a fantastically foreign taxi,
I sailed across foreign streets,
On the foreign side of the road
With that same foreign rain
Washing down the windows
As we rushed past shop fronts,
Sidewalks and sleepy streets,
So much to take in, so little in focus.
I remember that very first morning,
Opening windows and seeing you
In morning fresh, bathed in shiny dew.
Those famed rooftops, chalky grey,
Your buildings, creamy white
And your sky of brilliant blue.
Nothing was blurred anymore,
Nothing any longer a suggestion,
In that morning, everything was.
I walked you south to north that day
As morning fell to afternoon
Amid rays of October sunshine
And rested by your banks,
Gauloises in hand, Notre Dame in view,
And took you in, forever.
You ingrained yourself into me-
As deep as that rose window
In your Cathedral I gazed upon
On that very first day. And yet,
Today, so removed from you,
I still feel you, fall drawn to you,
Like a familiar call from home.
I got lost amid your left banks
That afternoon but you guided me
Back to the right path though I felt
No turn could ever be wrong
Least I missed a part of you
As yet unnoticed, like a sly smile,
Double take or a furrowed stare
Caught afresh on the face
Of a lover known so well.
Eventually, I passed Notre Dame
Every night, as a thousand taxis
Whisked me home
And I reminded myself, always,
To look at your Lady and rejoice
In the luck I’d found to be mine.
I may travel away to lands and rains
And taxis foreign to you but
There will always remain,
Inside us both, the boy
On the bridge, that day,
With cigarette in hand
And possibilities in mind,
Looking at you and falling.