“Notre Dame de Paris Catches Fire” by Rachel Custer

Rachel Custer


And everybody becomes a poet, seeing
meaning where there is no meaning,
seeing metaphor in the destruction
of metaphor. A house of God on fire
is a poem. Listen: it is saying nothing
stands forever, nothing you love will
not be burned away. Good Friday
has come again, and somewhere men
nail themselves to wood to feel like God.
Somewhere a man sets fire to a girl.
A crucifixion is a poem, saying nothing
dies forever. Even a woman who burns
will rise again. Notre Dame will rise again,
says a man on a Paris street, and he
is crying. Paris is not the same without
her. A man crying on the street is a poem
saying nothing feels like holiness, the fire
that burns away everything but what is
good. What is good? This day, a man
coming down from his cross, a girl
walking forth from a fire, raising again
her voice to sing the good news.

from Poets Respond
April 21, 2019


Rachel Custer: “Gospel means ‘good news.’ The good news is that, despite the hard news this Holy Week, we can be redeemed through the saving blood of Christ. Notre Dame will rise again. So will we.” (web)

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