Magazine | May 6, 2013, Issue



I looked out on Montmartre and I wept.

So many roofs of straight slate, gray and blue,

the terra-cotta stovepipes all that kept

a hint of warmth and roundness in the view.

I sank against the fencing and I wrote,

pulling down my hat’s stiff, woven brim,

to pry the hemline of my overcoat

from where it had been caught on railing trim.

The simple motions of a simple soul

laboring to breathe at such a height –

ashamed, almost, unable to control

what caused the crowds no trouble at this sight.

We ordinary hordes, aboard this terrace:

musicians, jocks, performing artists, mimes,

so casually overlooking Paris

in covert, patient penance for our crimes.

My overwhelming flood of feeling gone,

I joined the pilgrimage, with drier peers,

lacking that protection from the sun

used nonchalantly to disguise my tears.

Requesting, “S’il vous plait, mais votre chapeau . . .”

a greeting usher smiled, “. . . remove it, please,”

forbidding interruption in the flow

of visitants through clerics on their knees.

Thus we filed — uncovered dust — the dim

interior become my second veil.

The usher passed, I gripped my hat’s bent brim.

We passed medallion images for sale.

The Virgo Pacis missing one wrought square

within the golden gateway to her shrine,

she nonetheless possessed the only prayer

petitioned from those seekers out of line.

We passed much holiness, but I returned,

revisiting the Virgin with her six

white, massive candles, upright and unburned

above the votives with their low, scarred wicks.

In This Issue


Politics & Policy

Borg Queen

It is a rare thing when human events run ahead of science-fiction predictions. Usually, we’re years behind: According to George Orwell, we should have been living under the boot heel ...


Politics & Policy

Michael Poppins

A few years ago, after an enjoyable match at the nearby Victoria Cricket Club, I arrived at Rustico, a fine restaurant in the small village of Flatts at the western ...

Books, Arts & Manners

Politics & Policy

Tilting Left

The question is not whether college professors are liberal. That much is certain, as one can ascertain by asking any college graduate — or consulting reams of survey data. The ...
Politics & Policy

King Roger

A few years ago, Zev Chafets wrote a book about Rush Limbaugh. Now he has written a book about Roger Ailes. He seems to be making a specialty of larger-than-life ...


Politics & Policy


On Location In “Where She’s Coming From” (April 22), Florence King asserts that the movie Love Story “was actually filmed at Fordham.” Perhaps some of the scenes were filmed at Fordham, ...
Politics & Policy

The Week

‐ As one wag has said, “The worst part about being a domestic terrorist is all those midterms you have to grade in 20 years.” ‐ The bombing of the Boston ...

The Obvious Explanation

Conspiracy theories about the Boston Marathon terrorist bombing began immediately. Of course. Just like 9/11. On that grim day, you’ll recall, we learned that several foreigners acting on orders from ...
Politics & Policy


AT LA BASILIQUE DU SACRÉ-COEUR DE MONTMARTRE I looked out on Montmartre and I wept. So many roofs of straight slate, gray and blue, the terra-cotta stovepipes all that kept a hint of warmth ...
Happy Warrior

The Bickering Genocides

Justin Bieber, my successor as Canada’s teen heartthrob, is currently touring Europe. Passing through Amsterdam, he was taken to visit the Anne Frank House and afterwards signed the guest book. ...

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White House

The Mueller Report Should Shock Our Conscience

I've finished reading the entire Mueller report, and I must confess that even as a longtime, quite open critic of Donald Trump, I was surprised at the sheer scope, scale, and brazenness of the lies, falsehoods, and misdirections detailed by the Special Counsel's Office. We've become accustomed to Trump making up ... Read More

What’s So Great about Western Civilization

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Film & TV

Jesus Is Not the Joker

Actors love to think they can play anything, but the job of any half-decent filmmaker is to tell them when they’re not right for a part. If the Rock wants to play Kurt Cobain, try to talk him out of it. Adam Sandler as King Lear is not a great match. And then there’s Joaquin Phoenix. He’s playing Jesus ... Read More

Screw York Yankees

You are dead to me. You are a collection of Fredos. The cock has crowed, you pathetic sniveling jerks. The team I have rooted for since 1965, when I first visited the House that Ruth Built, where I hawked peanuts and ice cream a lifetime ago, watched countless games (Guidry striking out 18!), has gotten so ... Read More
Politics & Policy

Trump Can’t Cry ‘No Fair’

If I may jump in, I take Charlie’s point and I think he’s largely correct. I also think David is correct. There’s not that much of a contradiction in that because I think to some extent they’re talking about different things. And this reflects a larger frustration I have with many of the ... Read More