Basilique du Sacre-Coeur


 The steps of the Sacre-Coeur
billow down the hill like a robe,
and hundreds loiter on the hem, maybe
hoping to be healed. Church steps have cradled
them for centuries—the crippled, the homeless, the lost
tourists, the tired pedestrians—but here at this place are three
hundred steps instead of five or ten. The loiterers stretch on and on,
packed tight as pigeons, taking pictures, drinking lukewarm Heineken,
kissing at sunset, and all with their backs to the basilica, they face the city.
They do not turn. None of them could stand before the domes without keeling backwards and crashing down the grime-stained steps back to earth. So they sit upon the stone skirts, crouching toward the deep streets of the world, held there.

Betsy K. Brown

I am a graduate of Seattle Pacific University’s MFA in Creative Writing program, with a focus on creative nonfiction. My undergraduate degree is a BA in Media, Culture, and the Arts from The King's College in New York City. I am a teacher and chair of humanities at an Arizona high school. I love to share the goodness of words and stories with young people in the midst of the beauty of the American southwest.

'Basilique du Sacre-Coeur' have 2 comments

  1. March 15, 2021 @ 10:09 am Thomas J O'Byrne

    My wife and I walked those steps this time last year just as the fear of the pandemic began to grip Paris. This describes exactly what we saw that evening and captures the people’s spirituality perfectly. Beautiful poem!


  2. April 5, 2021 @ 5:42 pm Rebecca Iznsel

    Such exquisite imagery Betsy! I would go on, but my wrist was broken last Tues. :-/


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