EXILE – a poem in honor of France




despite the impact of Cézanne

upon the poet

Rilke considered himself

“exiled to the Seine”


I am exiled here

under a Caligula governor

to whom ‘my’ nature is enemy

while the new Hitler secures

nomination by the former

Grand Old Party


as every World War II book

recounts the rise of fascism

all too recognizable

on every side

in what used to be

our country


exile ME to the Seine!

I’ll start at that point of rockiness

where old fishermen gather new fish

beneath the venerable willows

— silence of shadiness

broken only by riverine ripples


nearby dark barges

— sleek and gleaming —

–quaint names glowing

at their prows–

evoke other lifetimes

hint of vagabondage

brigandry, while

geraniums and laundry

ripple brightly at their sterns


let me become habitué

of the Seine’s Left Bank

savoring anew the courtly lunch

at that dark and storied restaurant

upon the Quai Voltaire


followed by long studious strolls

among des bouquinistes

whether or not I buy

I’ll stroke venerable bindings


thinking in almost-French

Allons-y, à la Ste. Chapelle”…

“et, après ca, le pèlerinage”

to the grim fortress where

Marie Antoinette

whiled last hours

playing chess


awash in sombreness

I’ll seek “une glace

at ice cream’s mecca

upon Isle St. Louis

— seeming a venerable boat

at anchor

upon the dimpling Seine


wrinkling and whispering,

the river will announce

“Caroline, bienvenue.”



in mourning with France

for the tragedy of Nice

in the summer of 2016