Avenue Victor Hugo

The leaves are long fallen from
the many speckled trees along the Avenue
Victor Hugo, and I am sighing
again as I walk along the asphalt sidewalk,
and small cars and trucks pass, hurrying on.
Looking up at the Cathedral, a fortress
of forgotten stories, I remember
why this, the grand season, all matters,
the slow walks through the park,
that still feels like magic, though through it
a hundred times I have walked,
despite the problems and the long distance
from my ever-beloved home.
The mysteries are endless and discoveries made
with each little step, covered in the lights strung up
in the tall London plane trees,
from the couple on the cast-iron, old bench,
to the leaf pressed, wet onto the black ground.
And some sort of ancientness
awakes in the quite young me
at the sight of renaissance woodwork
and another glimpse of the medieval cathedral
forming histories turning round in my head;
The Wild Child’s night in prison
and the many women missing
lovers and husbands  as war ravaged them
over again
and the grandmother once a debutante,
admired, the last of the bourgeoisie.
A puff of white breath
And I am me again
Gloved hands in pockets, I walk on.

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