The Wounded City
'Paris, city of love'
Tom Harbottle | 19 January 2016

Paris, city of love, city of light,

A terrible joy filling the air

“Bon soir” they said, all around

But nothing could mask that awful sound.

Friday evening, people crowding in their thousands,

The last sip of coffee,

The last glass of wine,

The last whoop of laughter,

The last clap of hands,

That terrible moment of stillness,

An audience at their own horror.

129 birds killed with 5,000 stones

Heroes to some, villains to others.

“A good evening” they said it would be.

A minute’s silence…..

And all that it means for all the dead and for all of those who are living.

Will it stop? Can the world move on?

An arsenal in the west, planning to flatten all the memories.

But bombs will not get rid of hate.

Do not let these autumn leaves mean more than the bodies of those who saw their entire life before them.

But if we do nothing,

If we cower in our concerts and cafes that we know all too well…

In that case, pray not for Paris,

For this is just the beginning,

Pray for the world.

And all monsters who devour it.


Original image by Tom Harbottle

James Routledge 2016