Nov 28, 2022 • 2M

The Museum at Cluny

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Amy Isikoff Newell
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The Museum at Cluny

It was hot and bright in Paris that day.
We took the metro to Odeon and walked to Cluny.

Behind some partly excavated roman baths
was a gothic building turned museum

blessedly cool, and dark, no line, toilets.
You hardly cared what you saw.

A lot of alabaster saints. Gold reliquaries
shaped like the Virgin, holding Jesus.

A narwhal’s horn, like a jousting spear.
Blue incense boats and tiny cast iron cooking toys.

Five tapestries of a lady and a unicorn,
the unicorn unexpectedly small-headed

with a long horn (like a narwhal)
and a beard, grinning.

The lady sometimes sad, standing next
to a miniature orange tree.

Lapis and gold, going by not faster but slower,
as though you yourself are falling

into the middle ages, when everything impractical
was for God except perhaps a single pair

of earrings.

And back again into tumult and city, looking
for  ice cream near the Luxembourg Gardens.

-- Amy Isikoff Newell,  ~ 2012