Our Lady caught fire
but try not to worry about the expense.
Consider the lilies, consider the birds,
consider a fish-fry, pan-European,
“all proceeds towards” etc., etc.

Consider ignoring Macron, not rebuilding
it bigger and better but smaller and worse,
with a sign on the door quoting Solomon’s psalm:
“Unless God builds the house
in vain do we labor.” Of course
we’re courting the ex-Catholic rich
with the roses of History, Culture and such.
But consider an alternate fundraising model:
Mendicants, greasy and rattling cups
with a sales pitch that goes: “Deus vult.”
It’s a favorite of fascists, admittedly, but
it’s shorter than “help us rebuild Europe’s common heritage for future generations.”

Anyways, I hear the will of God is hot
with the donor class these days. If not,
consider the birds.

And don’t worry whether this is a sign
of Christianity’s decline. It is.
Mentioning the obvious makes God look
like a hack, like saying “it’s about redemption”
during Les Miserables’ second act.

And Christian, don’t sweat losing “history.”
There’s a whole lot more where that came from.

And Christian, remember your dignity.
Being culturally deprived is fine.

Culture sleeps with the low and the high
and keeps trophies of both, plastic and gold
(as far as our cultural catch-all trove goes,
weird porn trumps cathedrals a million to four),
so I don’t think Our Lady much minds being lost
to our cultural heritage, ensconced like Elijah,
by fiery chariot.

Then for what shall we weep? Not the architect’s feat.
He already pulled it off.

For what shall we cry? Not the tourist site.
To hell with that.

For what shall we mourn? Not the heat of the burn.
The combustible things that made up the spire
(like wood, mortar, and “national symbol”)
Our Mother would torch for the sake of
revealing the only thing that remains
when a Catholic church goes up in flames:
Christ, who shines the brighter
when those who hold him catch on fire.

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