You should be here to see
how in Besançon or maybe Auxerre
a young couple hold still
for small touches
so very up-close and openly
with never a glance to one side.
High culture or low – Chamonix,
Caen, Lyons – all of it calls
for plenty of foot sweat, except
barely over the threshold
of that great nave at Amiens
your breath on no warning whatever
taken in and held by surprise
makes you medieval.
This morning’s Gothic façade
at Rouen I didn’t check out
in the green Michelin, just listened
as les enfants on their way
to first grade came skipping
and chirping right by me
in singsong worth the cathedral.
Do I miss you? Throughout the Loire
valley I cruised, bagging chateaux
but in the mountains of Jura
did castles. Then at Coutances
climbed to this ruin so noble,
so high-lone and stone-lorn
its walls survive only as views
made of you and great distance.