The Wehrmacht coveted the wealth of France,
its grain, vines, ports, its past—and Paris most
of all. They planned, and took their shining chance.
Admiring it, they didn’t want its ghost,
or ruins! They too were Franks. “Leben wie Gott
in Frankreich” was their watchword. Notre-Dame,
the Eiffel Tower, Concorde, the Louvre besot
them: vital presence, history, art. The bomb
that struck Saint-Séverin was not a deed
of mad, misogynist fanatics, born
to hate, dehumanized by their own creed—
with Allah’s blessing, cruel puppets sworn
to murder or convert.— We see too well
how new attackers want the West to rot;
they’d kill the culture with the infidel.—
It’s foolish to be nice. De Gaulle was not,
nor Patton, nor was Charles Martel, who drove
the Saracens from Tours, quite nasty work—
essential, though— nor John, the king who strove
for Christendom, and won, against the Turk.
Past errors stain us, but do not excuse
today’s; and suicide remains a crime.
The dead require a stand. Who could refuse?
Requite them, and save France, while there’s still time.