Dame de Paris
for Fr. Jean-Marc Fournier
Outside, onlookers wept,
prayed, sang hymns while, inside,
beneath the waterfalls of flame,
the grey tears of molten lead
and charred and burning debris
falling from the fire-ravaged
roof and collapsed wooden spire,
he stood – alone amidst the
carnage – having already organised
the rescue of religious relics
and aware Quasimodo’s towers
and bells were in jeopardy,
the ex-army chaplain, who’d
given succour in Afghanistan
and to the Parisian Fire Brigade;
who gave collective absolution
during the massacre of innocents
at the Bataclan, used the saved
Blessed Sacrament to perform
a benediction: calling upon
his Saviour to save the beloved
Lady of Paris – and it still stands…
Jeremy Gadd was born and raised in Armidale and lives in Sydney. A graduate of the National Institute of Dramatic Art and holder of an MA Honours and PhD from the University of New England, he worked in professional theatre in Australia and the United Kingdom before concentrating on his writing, for which he has received several literary awards. Poems and short stories have appeared in numerous Australian and overseas periodicals and literary magazines, as well as in four collections of poems and two of stories published variously in Australia, the US and UK. Two novels have appeared with boutique publishers, one in Australia in 1998 and the other in Canada in 2015. Further details of Jeremy and his works can be found here and here.
Note: Father Jean-Marc Fournier is the chaplain of the Paris fire brigade who led the chain of people to save the historic artefacts and relics from the Notre-Dame Cathedral fire in April 2019.
Readers’ original and unpublished poems of up to 40 lines can be emailed, with postal address, to firstname.lastname@example.org. Submissions should be in the body of the email, not as attachments. A poetry book will be awarded to each accepted contributor.
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