TRAVEL POEM

Mascaron

 

 

Helen Mitsios, WONDERLUST’s Art+Style editor, is a poet whose most recent collection is The Grand Tour

 

While I was walking in the Marais, Paris’s oldest district, I admired the stone faces above doorways, the mascarons meant to ward off evil spirits. Sometimes they seemed to be smiling beneath their scary faces, and I felt they could almost read my thoughts, having overheard conversations and watched pedestrians walk past them for a few hundred years or so. This is a poem about being in love in Paris.

 

 

Helen, painted by her husband, Tony Winters

 

 

Mascaron

 

Not even the sky turns black in Paris

where we walk winding streets

of the Marais, where mascaron faces

smiling in stone look down at us,

like we should know better.

 

Here in Paris we pretend 

desire comes in pastel shades—

a Fragonard painting in an ormolu

frame. Yearning fills me stupidly

with gluttonous cupids astray

 

in fat clouds, fills me like a necklace

of foiled diamonds in a Maupassant story.

I should know better than to want

a different life, or love anything more

in this world than you or clouds.