Notre Dame de Paris–Poem: La Rosace

Notre Dame

This photo from AFP/Getty Images shows that the organ and at least one of the rose windows survived the fire at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris on May 15, 2019.

It’s been almost a month since a devastating fire destroyed the roof, the spire, and some of the interior of the beautiful Cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris. I love the French Gothic cathedrals and especially the beautiful stained glass rose windows that ornament them. I will be forever grateful that I was able to visit Notre Dame some years ago, and that with my daughter’s encouragement, I climbed up the many stairs (worn over hundreds of years by the feet of reverent monks) to the roof and looked out over the city of Paris from that lofty and lovely aspect.

As part of an art history paper on rose windows (les rosaces, singular la rosace), I wrote this poem.

La Rosace

I catch my breath at sight of holy rose—
Glass softened into petals into men.
A garden of blue flowers (what flowers are those?)
with crimson marking all that God has been,
like drops of blood that mark the sacred way
from birth to ministry to Cross to mourn,
to morning’s glory marks the Lord’s new day.
Let our path follow, born and then reborn.
Behold the work of art, the art of God—
the radiant point, the center of the Earth.
The Earth on which we sigh and toil and plod
until as pilgrims we seek holy mirth—
A mystery, the Son’s light as a gift
of rest as eyes, souls, pilgrim praise we lift.

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