Freedom in Paris

Traumatised by treachery into triangles of hate [1],

Faith scorched by extermination

Enclosed in walls of isolation below clouds flowing west [2]

With the only dream being freedom

To choose to be myself.


Sixty four thousand lights gleam across the nothingness

Of darkness and oppression planned for a different me [3]

Blinking across an iris dilated wide-eyed for the night

As the sun shines down an astronomical line

To time the paschal moon exactly. [4]


A convenience switch in compromise with the masses

Acclaims him victorious as others scorn desertion, [5]

Their own convictions surviving massacres [6]

Planning extinction, and deception

Preying the vacillating mind's uncertainty.


But the cardinal's tomb is sealed from view -  [7]

Closed for renovation in an updating of truth

Defending a nation's greatness amid the disintegration of faith

As I clutch mine with confidence in the future

While enchantment multiplies in myth.


Humanity secularised by fashion

And vaporised into smoke on a Persian carpet

Fantasising with the virtual in games of unreality [8]

And a new make-believe appears on our screens

As the divine mystery is relegated to history's past.


Victims of our genomes, handed down with the generations

Entwined in the complexities of choice

As new truths expound from street-corner headlines

Asserting our freedom through the megaphone [9]

And I become myself in dissent and fresh agreement.


10 February 2007

On returning from three days in Paris 


[1]  Triangles were worn by the deportees and others in Nazi concentration camps

[2]  The Memorial de la Deportation near the Notre Dame Cathedral

[3] The 64,000 deportees are remembered by that number of lights down the dark tunnel in the memorial

[4] The gnomon in St Sulpice, placed there to calculate equinoxes and the dates of Easter

[5] Henry of Navarre converted to Catholicism out of expediency when he became king,..

[6] It was the marriage of Henry to Marguerite that prompted the St Bartholomew's Day massacre of protestants

[7] Cardinal Richelieu, architect of much of the anti-protestant strategy -  a du Plessis

[8] A recent Catholic concern about electronic games replacing faith.

[9] Reference to student demonstrations witnessed during the visit.