le feu de Notre-Dame

a poem by Jayant Kashyap

it was a fire of our burnt history / of a count more of it // a Gothic fire of eight hundred and fifty years // a fire of unknown causes // a fire of cathedral roof / of stained-glass windows and wooden interior / before a fire of the toppling spire // a fire of emotional moments / of the worst fears // a fire of an “accidental destruction” // a fire of an injured firefighter // a fire of “colossal damages” // a fire of “invaluable heritage” // a fire of flames seen in silence // a fire of weeping eyes / of sung hymns and said prayers // a fire of ringing bells / of Catholic Holy Week // a fire of a cancelled speech / of speaking about street protests // a fire of “all French people” // a fire of rebuilding the Notre-Dame “together” // a fire of “extreme courage” // a fire of “a symbol of a country” // a fire of the damage from the French Revolution / of standing almost unscathed after the two World Wars // a fire of “an embodiment of the permanence of a nation” // a fire of almost thirteen million visitors / of a Unesco World Heritage Site // a fire of the burning wood / of “shock and sadness” // a fire of offered support / of shared thoughts // a fire of cracks in the stones / of horrible visions // it was a fire of people who didn’t see it ablaze / of people that saw it / and stood / and cried / and wept

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