Andrew Sullivan posted a poem by the American poet Vijay Seshadri, called Visiting Paris. I won’t post the whole thing here — go to his blog to read it — but I will say it pierced my heart like no words have in a long time, and in ways that I’m not prepared to talk about. Here’s how it ends:
Why go anywhere at all when it rains like this,
when the trees are sloppy and hooded
and the foot sinks to the ankle in the muddy lane?
I didn’t stay for the end of the conversation.
I was wanted in Paris. Paris, astounded by my splendor
and charmed by my excitable manner,
waited to open its arms to me.
This is exactly how it is with me. I do not perceive myself as having splendor or charm, but I do feel welcomed by Paris, whose embrace makes me feel as if I possess splendor and charm, and that those splendid, charming clothes I wear on the Boulevard Saint-Germain are not the suit of a clown and a fraud. How strange to be intoxicated by hiraeth for a place for which I can never fully be a part. But it’s where I make sense to myself.