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From the North East of England. Poetry, prose and cultural comment to keep you engaged and alert.

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Le Pere Lachaise

 

The moon cries red until at last

Time spins our hearts along the track.

Galleries and fashion houses fade,

Gucci turns to grey, grande to gauche.

Washing lines, tenements, unseen Paris,

Then silence comes to rest

In Pere Lachaise.

 

Hearse worn cobbles suffer tourists,

Gravestones struggle for a view.

Death, mapped out in five languages,

Directs us with quiet whispers

To names and families,

Marble and gilded monuments.

 

The famous beckon, inviting adulation.

Wilde with kisses, adored,

Unrepentant, crushed by time.

Piaf, petit, discreet, cascaded in petals.

Morrison, mournful, macabre,

Guarded against dangers beyond death.

 

But who can be a tourist

In the city of the dead?

Whispers, rise slowly to a scream.

The unburied dead surprise us,

Silent statues stinging tears.

Auschwitz - Dachau - Bergen-Belsen -

Here stand our hostages to fortune.

 

Screams die falling into city noise,

Senses re-awaken, mixed and strained.

Aching hearts, touch lonely terrors.

The smell of the past is burning,

The present tastes of sweat and sex,

A flicker from the future sees children, 

And hears the sound of birds singing.

 

Steve Bishop