It burned with pentecostal tongues of fire,
consuming all of history and France,
and left a void by its collapsing spire.
A Gallery of Kings had felt the glance
of killing steel when God was thought to die
in riot, then replaced by high Romance,
To rise again and fill the Paris sky.
A brooding sprawl of lumber, stone, and glass,
where tourists gawk and pilgrims multiply,
who heard the organ sighing as they pass,
while gargoyles balanced with the forms of grace
and weathered walls reverberate the Mass.
This new inferno saw a “forest” race
in spreading drifting sparks of molten lead,
that selfless fire-fighters rushed to face.
Perhaps I know, when asked where God had fled,
God was found in them or just outside
in those who sang an “Ave” in their dread.
Photographers recorded deep inside
that overwhelming darkness, like a cloak,
a radiant cross and Mary like a bride,
Gleaming in these signs of fire and smoke
that led the exiles, made the waters calm,
and then unto a humble handmaid spoke.
I am more broken than is Notre Dame,
mixing tears with ash from ancient oak,
and trouble heaven with my trembling psalm.