on def-ending / the Tuileries 1792

he protects the fleur-de-lis,
paws spread on dying breath &
it’s slow motion in my head when
he hits ground, sweat splatters,
cheek bones smash– and
it is always rainy when we get here

a small lake divides me from
laying hands in gaping spear wounds
in his chest, the morning swallowing
their screams, damp bodies as
they run, stretch strong & in their fall,
form puddles, the metallic scent
of blood mingling with saliva and on
my tongue the songs of yesterday,
the chirping of the birds, his semen
running down my thighs as earth
moves under him with maggots
feasting on big chunks of fear &
dreams left in the warmth

tssshrk—-tssshrk—click

the japanese group takes
some more pics and then moves on
and alls left is i– and years
wash by to when there was
no rock but flesh, still breathing
& i want to lay with you the night
before the battle, slowly moving
through the dark, saying that
it is not right and i don’t understand,
sweat splashing on you as i ride
you into safety, close my eyes

when the sculpturer drives
with strong & precise streaks,
his chisel in the sandstone, pausing
as you’re spitting blood across the soil,
across the lake, the morning mist,
painting magic patterns on your face
without needing any reason–
& again, i feel your soft breath
on my neck as i return, and
join the group to lead them on

.

The Lion Monument in Lucerne commemorates the Swiss Guards who died in 1792 when revolutionaries stormed the Tuileries Palace in Paris during the French Revolution. I often take customers from our company there and even though I have seen it many times, it still moves me deeply..

today at dVerse, Victoria Ceretto-Slotto has prepared a wonderful poetics prompt for us– get your chisel ready and join us 3pm EST when the pub doors swing open..

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52 responses to “on def-ending / the Tuileries 1792

  1. Didn’t know a thing about this … love the picture (there are more close ups in google images) … I’ll be off now and read some more about this. Greetings, C, and have a great w/e. Love, cat.

  2. maggots
    feasting on big chunks of fear &
    dreams left in the warmth

    Wow, that captures our essence under our immortal selves. Had to read this a few times. I need time to study a little of what happened there exactly.

  3. You captured the statue and made it come alive, plus through in the facts I never knew. Another amazing write at your sea and the cat likes that it’s a relative of the him too haha

  4. More astonishing imagery, history and culture in a tantalisingly graphic mix. Imagination has the power to bring the past back into life and you’ve succeeded here, I feel. Wonderfully original, as ever, on a subject I know little of, I have to confess.

  5. vicious write claudia…my fav parts are the spitting of blood when the sculptor strikes….so vivid…and captures the soldier/lion well….def grit in between and intimacy as well….lovely

  6. I love the flow of this poem, Claudia. Magical and mythological. From the real to the surreal and then back again. (And I laughed about the Japanese group with cameras! I have seen these groups.)

  7. As always you write in a manner that so vividly describes a scene. War is so painful, no matter when it happens. It does look like an interesting sculpture.
    Have a great weekend Claudia.

  8. Your images shatter complacency and paint in blood the past that never leaves us, whether we want to carry it forward or not, is embedded in all of us, and we re-enact it through all of time–or so this poem seems to make me feel. Definitely a poem that has the feel of sculpture–permanent, implacable, carved with feeling.

  9. Hi Claudia–a vividly felt poem. A blur of images that brings up the drama of the history, and, of course, the way it is transmuted in the present to little photographic anecdotes. I kept thinking of the beast slouching towards Bethlehem to be born. K.

  10. Nicely done…I am glad I knew nothing of this before reading your piece…and again, you meld now with then and take liberty with truth and dreams, with a timeline of history and a moment in your heart…very well done

    Peace ☮

  11. Sad to think of the lion dying yet, such courage it speaks of and you have managed to bring it all to life, the bravery of the Swiss soldiers who battled, fought and died. The wounds, the blood, the horror and yet mingled with tourists snapping photographs to bring it back into the present. A piece of history captured in your lovely words.

  12. The horrors and the heroics nicely brought to life. Those who see them now may not really realize. But you brought history back to those who care. Very inspiring write. Had to read it a few times. Great write Claudia!

    Hank
    P/S Had tried to access many times last few weeks. Was faced with non connection. Apologies!

  13. Strange what the writer sees that others do not…I suspect that’s why we write sometimes…to aid them in their observations…another excellent verse.

  14. Your poems are the best on the planet, I do believe, Claudia.

    Your mind is a wonder.

    Your heart even more so.

    In one breath from museum to the wars that birthed it. Magnificent!!

    xo

  15. I like the second verse very much…powerful and gritty images

    form puddles, the metallic scent
    of blood mingling with saliva and on
    my tongue the songs of yesterday,
    the chirping of the birds, his semen
    running down my thighs as earth
    moves under him with maggots
    feasting on big chunks of fear &
    dreams left in the warmth

  16. This is so good on so many levels. Again, dream plays a part. Is the poem and its dream sequence your revolutionary act? Bringing that revolutionary spirit alive again in the form of the stone lion, making his spirit roam the streets of Paris again, in imagination. That is the spark that lit the passions of the heroes who planted freedom in Europe and laid the basis for freedom there. I hope some day to see the lion myself and relive as vividly as you the truth that inspired the hearts and minds of freedom lovers thru the centuries.

  17. Great poem, how quickly life can change one day enjoying life with loved ones to the next healing war wounds from chaos. Must admit I have no knowledge of this piece of history but your vivid imagery is unforgetable.

  18. So evocative, and such vivid imagery. You are a spectacular talent. As Charles says, this works on so many levels, truly beautiful write. Congratulations! It takes me weeks of squeezing my tiny brain to write anything that mildly resembles this quality!!

  19. “when the sculpture r drives
    with strong & precise streaks,
    his chisel in the sandstone, pausing
    as you’re spitting blood across the soil,
    across the lake, the morning mist,
    painting magic patterns on your face
    without needing any reason–
    & again, i feel your soft breath
    on my neck as i return, and

    join the group to lead them on”

    Hi! Claudia…
    Tks, for sharing your [very] beautiful poetic words that rolls Off your “tongue” and “paint” a very descriptive picture Of your experience/feeling(s) with your readers…too!

    [Note: I like the image too…Because it compliment your poem…on def-ending / the Tuileries 1792…]

    deedee 🙂

  20. Looking at this picture- seeing the lions face- and then reading your skilfully crafted words and imagery, created such power. Not only did I get the feeling of the lions war- but your journey with him. A powerful sculpture bought to life with powerful words. I really enjoyed the part where you talked about the Japanese tourists taking photos- in a way- this just heightened the melancholia of the sleeping cat.

    Btw- keeping my eye open for lighthouses for you- he he.

    As mentioned above- have you got a collection of poetry published? And if not- Why not!

  21. I love this one Claudia where you have taken the past and present and connected them in such away one believe you were there. I really like “painting magic patterns on your face”. I like to carve wood and would one day like to take a class in using clay as a medium. Is this place somewhere close to where you live?

  22. claudia, wow, again – such consistency of quality

    i glanced through the comments, and

    gotta agree with victoria we need a book from you! let us know when blue flute publishes, will it be an ebook also?

    and with brian, that spitting of blood onto so many depths of places!

    and with heaven re loving the gritty-ness –

    and with charles about fanning the desire to also be there and see and feel it “there!”

    beautiful work claudia, superior really 😉

  23. it’s brilliant really and deeply moving, your poem – the richness of each image, your willingness to spill words as they see fit till I too can see…

  24. I was very surprised at my reaction to reading this, Claudia…tears pooled in my eyes…there was something abusive happening here…mixed with compassion…that really tugged at my heart. Very moving for me.

  25. oh, i agree! when will we see a book of your poetry? you can take any subject and breath a passion into it that says “claudia” ~ gorgeous!

  26. I also particularly like the second stanza, Claudia; the most graphic of your images of the past, but not least the sounds of Japanese tourist cameras – so well described by the sound ‘Tssshrk’ and why is it I am always left with a feeling that they take photographs as memories of historical monuments, which in the end themselves can only serve as prompts for thoughts; thoughts, which poets can and do elucidate; describing in words what can feel.

    As a once overly keen photographer myself, I am acutely aware of a waning of that keenness and an increased desire to describe such imagination in words rather than pictures. This has been such a good prompt by Victoria and a great poem in response from you.

  27. Great work. 🙂 A glimpse into the mythical, the emotions with the abrupt interruption of the present and then a little back again. Wow, just amazing to read.

  28. Claudia, your poem puts me right there keeping and moaning over the fallen Swiss Guards! Very powerful, very of-the-moment in just enough graphic detail to reach our five senses in 2012!