Paris by Alla Seeger

 

First, London, for its myriads; for its height, Manhattan heaped in towering stalagmite; But Paris for the smoothness of the paths That lead the heart unto the heart's delight....

 

Fair loiterer on the threshold of those days When there's no lovelier prize the world displays Than, having beauty and your twenty years, You have the means to conquer and the ways,

 

And coming where the crossroads separate And down each vista glories and wonders wait, Crowning each path with pinnacles so fair You know not which to choose, and hesitate-

 

Oh, go to Paris.... In the midday gloom Of some old quarter take a little room That looks off over Paris and its towers From Saint Gervais round to the Emperor's Tomb--

 

So high that you can hear a mating dove Croon down the chimney from the roof above, See Nôtre Dame and know how sweet it is To wake between Our Lady and our love.

 

And have a little balcony to bring Fair plants to fill with verdure and blossoming, That sparrows seek, to feed from pretty hands, And swallows circle over in the Spring.

 

There of an evening you shall sit at ease In the sweet month of flowering chestnut-trees, There with your little darling in your arms, Your pretty dark-eyed Manon or Louise.

 

And looking out over the domes and towers That chime the fleeting quarters and the hours, While the bright clouds banked eastward back of them Blush in the sunset, pink as hawthorn flowers,

 

You cannot fail to think, as I have done, Some of life's ends attained, so you be one Who measures life's attainment by the hours That Joy has rescued from Oblivion.