A Poet in Paris

What does an eighteen-year-old boy do in Paris? Write poetry, of course.

If he is still  broke...

François-Nicolas Chifflart --  Conscience

Prose is the warden of ideas, but poetry is the keeper of mystery. In prose, you focus on what is being said, and in poetry on what is kept hidden. Naturally, poetry is suited for epics. After all, the Illyad is one long, big (very, very big) poem.

Poetry crossed my mind and flowed from my pen, like the Seine through Paris: serene, inspiring and... murky.

My poetry was all about Me.

How saaad I was, how teeeeribly looonely I was, how life was intoooleraaable and how my nose itched (I rubbed it often when I wrote poetry).

But then, there are great poets. Have you ever read the poem "Cain" by Victor Hugo?

Here's the intro:

Then, with his children, clothed in skins of brutes,

disheveled, livid, rushing through the storm,

Cain fled before Jehovah. As night fell

The dark man reached a mount in a great plain,

And his tired wife and his sons, out of breath,

Said: "Let us lie down on the earth and sleep."

Cain, sleeping not, dreamed at the mountain foot.

Raising his head, in that funereal heaven

He saw an eye, a great eye, in the night

Open, and staring at him in the gloom.

Now is that epic or what?

You can read the rest of this poem here.

Poetry opens vistas on wide horizons by relying on telescoping images (you know, using one image to make the next appear closer, then using the second to make a third appear close). Poetry moves at a speed difficult to replicate in prose--or in Paris, when you're torn between a chocolate éclair and an almond croissant (what misery, I tell you).

Standing in front of a Parisian bakery, I felt that a poem should be crisp and crunchy on the outside, and all gooey and delicious on the inside... and that explains why my poems were swept away by the Seine and were never----thank God----seen again.

Despite my wordy shenanigans, poetry remained a faithful friend, waiting for me to grow up, to leave self-pity behind, to walk with my feet firmly on the ground, my head in the clouds, and my hands on the keyboard. As it happens, this story starts with a poem that I would like to share with you today, and while you're reading it (click hear to listen to the song), I'll go grab me a chocolate éclair. Bon appétit!


Twenty-two uncreated Letters of supernal power

To free from the bottomless pit the Lords of Darkness

Their sleepless malice stirs beneath the fallen tower

Yearning to fill the heart of men with madness


In the raging pit of fire and everlasting darkness


Standing before the dawn of the second Age of Blood

Facing the terror of the Pit at the final hour

A Seer alone will rise to stem the raging flood

Commanding the twenty-two letters of supernal Power


In the raging Pit of fire and everlasting darkness