Archives for posts with tag: Paris

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Notre-Dame de Paris
by Sarah Russell

Paris is a woman because of Notre-Dame —
the center, the mother, austere, protecting.

As a student, I lived nearby on Rue de Seine,
a lapsed protestant who found peace in her alcoves
with their candles and dusty saints, her cool scent
like ancient, cherished books, my steps on her stone floor
echoing to her heights, a child in her embrace.

She nurtured my loneliness at Christmas with songs
of birth and hope, with foreign words and rituals
that somehow felt like home.

Years later, when flames rose from her ancient bones,
I became her child again, helpless, afraid no one
could save her. I wept as her spire fell, as sirens keened
in minor key.

Today, sheathed in scaffolding, she remains the center,
the mother — resilient, still sustaining me as she is healed.

PHOTO: Notre-Dame Cathedral on the banks of the River Seine, Paris, France. Photo by Mark Skalny, used by permission.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Notre-Dame de Paris is a medieval Catholic cathedral on the Île de la Cité in the 4th arrondissement of Paris. Considered one of the finest examples of French Gothic architecture, construction began in 1160 and was completed around 1260.  (Source: Wikipedia)

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NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I didn’t realize how much Notre-Dame meant to me until I saw her in flames on April 15, 2019. I felt I needed to be with the throngs who gathered there, who loved her as I did. I’ve had the good fortune to travel a great deal in my life, but Paris and Notre-Dame are where I return again and again. I feel at peace when I see the cathedral. It is a touchstone for my life.

PHOTO: Interior of Notre-Dame de Paris by Ninlawan Donlakkham, used by permission.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Sarah Russell is a Pushcart-nominated poet who has published widely in print and online. Her two collections of poetry, published by Kelsay Books, are I lost summer somewhere (2019) and Today and Other Seasons (2020). She blogs at

Montmartre in Paris, France
Montmartre Adventure
by Jennifer Lagier

I evade prepubescent
pickpockets who stalk naive
tourists as they emerge from
the underground Metro.

A watchful Parisian wordlessly
points from his eyes to my wallet,
warns of hands that grab,
distracting their victims.

Eight blocks later, gendarmes
apprehend the young thieves,
force them to sit in a line,
wrists bound, feet in the gutter.

Sketch artists, white-faced mimes,
solicit at Sacré-Coeur cathedral,
posture, entertain passersby,
make indecent proposals to women.

Near the Lapin Agile cabaret,
I visit a wine shop, walls illustrated
with street boys, the French
equivalent of Salinas gang homies.

A late afternoon croque-monsieur,
warm beer mixed with lemonade,
kicking back at an open-air bistro,
make me fit in, feel like a local.

PHOTO: “Morning in the Place du Tertre with Sacré-Coeur Basilica in the background, Montmartre, Paris, France” by Volha Kavalenkava, used by permission.


NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: This poem and photo are from our week-long stay in Paris in the summer of 2003. My husband, shown in the photo with me, proposed marriage as we sat on the lawn in the gardens under the Eiffel Tower on our second day there.

PHOTO: Oliver Fellguth and Jennifer Lagier at the Eiffel Tower, June 2003.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Jennifer Lagier has published eighteen books. Her work appears in From Everywhere a Little: A Migration Anthology, Fire and Rain: Ecopoetry of California, Missing Persons: Reflections on Dementia, Silent Screams: Poetic Journeys Through Addiction & Recovery. Her newest books are Trumped Up Election (Xi Draconis Books) and Dystopia Playlist (CyberWit), with Meditations on Seascapes and Cypress forthcoming from Blue Light Press. Visit her at and find her on Facebook.

O, Paris
by Dakota Donovan

O, Paris, how I miss you!
When will I see you again?
It’s been too long.
When I think of you, you are bathed
in a blue mist.
How I miss your light, your dark
your scent, your streets,
your rhythm, your trains,
your language, your music,
your monuments, your shops,
your art, your culture,
your stairs to climb.
I miss your rain, rain, rain.
I miss Ile St. Louis, where I stayed in
a terrible hotel and
fled to a trés belle place near
Les Champs-Élysées.
Another time, it was an
apartment near La Tour Eiffel —
a high rise where hawks soared between the buildings.
Then, it was Montparnasse, a hotel
paid for by my Fortune 50 employer—a 10-day stay,
great, except for the job and the employer.
But under any circumstances or conditions
I would return to you
O, Paris.
I love you.
It’s okay if you don’t love me back.

PHOTO: “Paris Sunset” by Kevin Phillips, used by permission.

Stylish woman at the summer beach in a hot day

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Long-time Francophile Dakota Donovan is a ghostwriter for the rich and famous who lives in Los Angeles. She’s had many wild and crazy experiences while working with celebrities to tell their life stories, and some of these strange-but-true tales appear in her Hollywood Ghostwriter Mysteries — starting with L.A. Sleepers. In other incarnations, she’s written novels, plays, screenplays, and television scripts. She’s currently working on L.A. Dreamers, the second novel in the Hollywood Ghostwriter Mystery series.

The Brooch
by Lynn White

We sat on the dirty stairs
holding hands and looking sad.
His name was Ralf
and tomorrow at
“la bonne heure”
he was
leaving Paris,
going home to Geneva.
He gave me a brooch made of metal,
two hands breaking a rifle in two.
I pinned it on my jacket,
the black leather one
that was stolen
some years
I bought a new jacket,
also black leather,
also stolen
I could have bought a new brooch,
identical to the one I had lost.
But I never did.
I couldn’t replace the connection lost.
when I lost
the brooch

PHOTO: The author, second from left in Paris, about 1965.


It’s strange something so trivial can be remembered so many years later. All it took was the prompt for me to visualize us sitting on the stairs looking glum! Oddly enough this is all I remember of our brief friendship. Perhaps without the gift of the brooch and it’s subsequent loss, I would remember nothing at all!

AUTHOR’S PHOTO CAPTION: Not my brooch, just an identical one from the Internet.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Lynn White lives in north Wales. Her work is influenced by issues of social justice and events, places, and people she has known or imagined. She is especially interested in exploring the boundaries of dream, fantasy, and reality. Her poem “A Rose For Gaza” was shortlisted for the Theatre Cloud “War Poetry for Today” competition 2014. This and many other poems have been published in recent anthologies, including the Alice in Wonderland Anthology (Silver Birch Press), The Border Crossed Us (Vagabond Press), Selfhood (Trancendence Zero) — and journals such as Apogee, Firewords Quarterly, Guide To Kulchur, Indie Soleil, Midnight Circus, and Snapdragon as well as many other online and print publications. Visit her on facebook and at

Moonlight in Vermont
by Rose Mary Boehm

Vermont took on a special shine
on the small dance floor
just off the famous Boul’ Mich.
Your feet were as large
as your frame and your height,
and my face rested on your
starched shirt front. I was afraid
I’d smudge my foundation (tone Biscuit)
and you’d be appalled. But then
you’d just stolen two crystal droplets
from the hotel’s chandelier
and threaded those old wires
through the holes in my earlobes
with some pomp. I didn’t expect
a starched dress shirt from
someone called Bill.

AUTHOR’S PHOTO CAPTION: The time is 1959, the place is Paris, innocence is written with a capital “I.” Being “in love” is the best thing in the world, and Paris the only place where it can happen with the right amount of glamour and romance.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: A German-born UK national, Rose Mary Boehm, lives and works in Lima, Peru. Author of two novels and a poetry collection (TANGENTS) published in 2011 in the in UK, well over 100 of her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in a good two dozen US poetry reviews as well as in some print anthologies and Diane Lockward’s The Crafty Poet. She won third place in the 2009 Margaret Reid Poetry Contest for Traditional Verse (US), was semi-finalist in the Naugatuck poetry contest 2012/13 and has been a finalist in several Goodreads contests, winning it in October 2014.

EDITOR’S NOTE: “Moonlight in Vermont” was written by John Blackburn and Karl Suessdorf in 1944. The lyrics are unusual in that they do not rhyme. The lyrics are also unconventional because each verse (not counting the bridge) is a haiku. Listen to the original recording by Margaret Whiting on youtube.

Paris 1966
Perfectly Imperfect
by Lynn White

It started when we stood hopefully
with our thumbs outstretched
by an English roadside,
heading towards Italy and Yugoslavia
without maps or money,
or sense of direction.

And we made it to Italy.
and swam off the rocks,
with a man we’d met in a cafe,
because he said we could.
And we swam and swam until two policemen came,
(one very stern and one very twinkly),
and said we couldn’t.
Nor could we leave the rocks without clothes on,
or with clothes clinging to our still wet bodies,
or lie on the rocks until we were dry,
in case we disconcerted the traffic or populace.
This being the main street in Trieste.

And we made it to Pec and lived
in a house ‘typique du Turque’
with a water pump in the garden
and a toilet, also ‘Typique du Turque’,
which made us very ill indeed.
But the parties were good and
the conversations interesting,
even though no one spoke English.
And we learned to speak some Albanian,
which was always handy.
And we survived to sit thirstily by a hot,
dusty roadside and fantasise
about the ice cold mountain water
streaming through the streets of Pec,
and even about the water pump in the garden.

And we made it back home.
We had got lost a lot,
but hadn’t got raped or murdered.
So far as we can remember.

What perfection.

PHOTO: The author (left) on L’Avenue des Champs-Élysées, Paris (1966) during one of her many European sojourns.

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NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: This poem is an edited excerpt from a longer work. In the days when it was possible to leave one job at the beginning of summer and walk into another at the end, I made many similar trips, but this was the longest, most exotic and most exciting! Perfect in it’s ups and downs!


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Lynn White lives in north Wales. Her work is influenced by issues of social justice and events, places, and people she has known or imagined. She is especially interested in exploring the boundaries of dream, fantasy, and reality. Her poem “A Rose For Gaza” was shortlisted for the Theatre Cloud “War Poetry for Today” competition in October 2014 and is published in Poetry For Change anthology by Vending Machine Press. Poems have also recently been included in Harbinger Asylum’s Literary Journal and A Moment To Live By anthology, Stacey Savage’s We Are Poetry: An Anthology of Love Poems, the Weasel Press anthology Degenerates, Voices For Peace, Tangent Literary Journal, Amomancies, Dawntreader, and various other on line and print journals and anthologies.


Ten Days in Paris
by Susan Mahan

I fell in love with a frenchman.

We dined in a bistro
…at separate tables.
Pink lighting glowed softly
on white linen,
and I savored him between morsels
of warm goat cheese.
He was handsome and cordial,
soft-spoken and kind.
He sat with a woman,
but I was sure
they were business associates;
he did not tutoie*her.

His gaze held hers
as they talked of their jobs,
their interests,
their families.
His eyes were expressive
and the color of the Seine on a cloudy day.
His eyebrows moved in concert
with her every remark.

I wanted his rapt attention
and longed to bring him back to my flat.

© Susan Mahan, June 2000

*the verb tutoyer means to address familiarly (tu)

PHOTOGRAPH: “Sidewalk Cafe, Boulevard Diderot, Paris” by Henri Cartier-Bresson (1969).

outside d'orsay

My husband died in 1997. I had been married 26 years and had never really been alone in all that time. Two years after he died, I decided to travel alone to Paris. I thought I needed to prove somethingto myself. I brought a journal along to write my impressions of the trip. “Ten Days in Paris”was one of the poems that emerged. When I think of the initial fear I had on that trip — not being ableto read maps that well, only knowing a little French, being entirely alone in a foreign country,how can I submit a poem on “My Perfect Vacation,”you may be asking? It turned out that my time spent in Paris gave me great confidence in myself. I’ve traveled back two more timesby myself since the first trip.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Susan Mahan has been writing poetry since her husband died in 1997. She is a frequent reader at poetry venues and has written four chapbooks. She served as an editor of The South Boston Literary Gazette from 2002-2012. She has been published in a number of journals and anthologies, including Silver Birch Press.

AUTHOR PHOTO: Susan Mahan outside The Musée d’Orsay, Paris.

Très cool! The esteemed 13e Note Éditions in Paris recently released (in French) LADYLAND, a 496-page anthology of writing by American women, including frequent contributors to Silver Birch Press anthologies — Rene Diedrich, Linda KIng, Tamara Madison, and Joan Jobe Smith. Learn more at Find the book at

Congrats to all the women who contributed to the collection: Lisa Carver, Antonia Crane, Rene Diedrich, Gina Frangello, Kat George, Veronica Ghostwriter, Fiona Helmsley, Dana Johnson, Linda King, Chris Kraus, Lydia Lunch, Tamara Madison, Cris Mazza, Hulga McSwine, Reverend Jen Miller, Cookie Mueller, Sigrid Nunez, BC Petrakos, Joan Jobe Smith, Mende Smith, Sin Soracco, Michelle Tea, Nichelle Tramble, Sabine Walser, Ann Wood.

Flavours of May
by Brinda Buljore

blending textures of
seasoning sunshine
together with winter hues
tall filaments become
seeds of luck and
petals of fate
kneading the dough
of fright and faith
into malleable stars
substance thin
like muslin yet
resistant as silk
May morning brings
stamina and vigour
rolling down the stairs
bridging the taste
within the flavours of life
to the pestle of destiny

ABOUT THE POET/PHOTOGRAPHER: Brinda Buljore is a writer and artist who lives in Paris.

PHOTO: “Muguet, French Moments” by Brinda Buljore, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

NOTE: King Charles IX of France received lily of the valley (muguet) flowers as a lucky charm on May 1, 1561. He liked the gift and decided to present the flowers — known for their delightful scent — to the ladies of his court each year on May 1. Around 1900, men started to bring their sweethearts bouquets of lily of the valley flowers as a symbol of springtime. On April 23, 1919, the eight-hour working day was officially introduced in France, and May 1 became a public holiday. May Day was not observed during World War II, but again became a public holiday in 1947. May 1 officially became known as La Fête du Travail (Labor Day) on April 29, 1948. In France, May 1st remains an occasion to present lily of the valley flowers to loved ones.

Recorded August 16, 1956. Ella sings and Satchmo sings and plays.