In the Beauty of a Lower Heaven

Autumn in Paris is like summer in a lower heaven.
Sycamores and chestnuts paint the air,
Pencil-thin branches sketch the city like Utrillo,
The Seine sets leaves in moon-glass.

We caught the metro at Bir-Hakeim
Near Vel’ d’Hiv, the Nazi detention center.
Cyclists went flying into fire and ash
In the beauty of a lower heaven.

Something grotesque in the accordion
Like a fascist playing Mozart.
Something hypnotic in the sound,
The bellowing of giving birth to terror.

In the beauty of a lower heaven
All the people are lovelier, tranquil,
Even at rush hour music tames
The writhing beast of megalopolis.

Goodnight Paris, bonne nuit,
Your accordions are like history
Repeating the music and the horror
In the beauty of a lower heaven.

Goodnight Roseline, Simone and Eliana…
We will meet again, Aviva…
The doors of the trains are opening
In the beauty of a lower heaven.

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