English poetry

Poems in English


O my beloved city,

How many times have I deserted you

For the sights and sounds of Babylon?

How often and from how far

Have I conjured your broad boulevards

O Quartier Latin, crowded street cafйs

With white and scarlet awnings, gold

Adornings on stone cupolas, Byzantine domes

And plinths of equine statuary before

The Gare du Nord, grumbling fading

Faience of the Gare de l’Est?

Often, O how often, did I mingle with your crowds

Crossing the Pont Mirabeau in their Sunday best,

Regretting my lost loves, watching the barges

Snail along the Seine, hearing the bells

Of the Angelus dawn?


Exiled in the south and in a new century,

I recall leisurely Sundays on the Grande Jatte;

The children in sun hats knelt by their boats

Unfurling handkerchiefs for sails and for supreme farewells

(Shall I return? Steamer with your poised masts

Raising anchor for exotic climes?)


The bells of Sacrй Coeur shake rickety tables

Where old men in blazers sport the Lйgion d’Honneur.

Priests in birettas sip Green Chartreuse over their

Breviaries while Wilde and Gide stroll round Pиre

Lachaise vying to outdo each other’s tinted

Memories of soft-skinned Moroccan boys.

Weary of their weariness and of my own, and of

Rimbaud and Verlaine’s battle of strophe and

Anti-strophe and rhetoric’s demise, I take a

Lacquered tram to the Bois de Boulogne, hoping

To catch Mistinguette’s last song.

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Poem LEEDS - Barry Tebb