To all the eyes that have
risen to Notre Dame
or fallen by blind fate;
swallows took sacred flight.

Eight centuries of history gone.
Church bells rang across Paris
as a cathedral spire fell to the ground.

Of all the breaths passing
within lofty heights
and prayers given unto God;
gargoyles watched
tears drop from passersby
at night,
weeping for the world,
holding beauty’s manifest in flame.

Of all the footsteps entering its doors
all the street urchin’s dreams;
the lifeless souls
awakened by form
with taste of bread within reach.

Where hunger stretched upon every street,
and revolution sparked within gaze
across a city that would endure wars at rage;
gargoyles of Notre Dame protect beyond flame;
each man, woman and child at the mercy of days
to build each spire stronger than history gave,
falling in ash this day
to join the wind and its phrase.
The eyes of humanity are upon you.

Other pieces by James Coburn

Blending Colors: Recalling a 1963 minstrel show in OKC
Requiem for Paris
Oklahoma Lynching
Breath vs. Bullets: A poem for America
Beyond Shadow: Remembering Paul Fairchild

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James Coburn is an Oklahoma poet, photographer and journalist. His first book of poetry, "Words of Rain," was a 2015 finalist for the Oklahoma Book Awards. His work has appeared numerous anthologies. A long­time journalist for The Edmond Sun, Coburn is a 2013 inductee of the Oklahoma Journalism Hall of Fame.