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:

Chez Bobosse, Paris, 2012

Chez Bobosse, Paris, 2012

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.