Friday, 20 November 2015

Paris, after the attacks

The day after the attacks in Paris, earlier this week, Imogen Robertson, writer of historical novels including The Paris Winter, posted this picture on Facebook. It's by Gwen John, and it shows a corner of the room where she lived in Paris. I was immediately struck, because as it happened, I'd used it the week before in a writing class I run; it was only after I read other people's comments that I realised Imogen had actually posted it as a quiet response: the calmness and beauty of the image contrasting with the horror of what had happened.

I'm not a poet. But very occasionally, I feel that only a poem - even if it's a bad one - will serve to express the thoughts and feelings associated with a particular event. So here is what I wrote.

Light slants in
Through a tall window.
A muslin curtain partially obscures
The streets of Paris.
On a table, a posy of flowers:
Their petals dry now
And falling. A sweet, lingering scent
Of lost dreams. Of lost life.

She who placed these flowers
And loved this room
Will not return.
Her dark thoughtful eyes are
Closed for ever. Light and life
By an assassin's pointless gun.

Another petal falls.

© Sue Purkiss