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Poetry, to me, has always been the Anthology book I grudgingly accepted in an English literature class. It has always been the funny Urdu rhymes my mother sang as a bedtime lullaby. It has been a shelf of books I strolled past in bookshops without a second glance. Despite my adoration for literature, poetry never really caught my attention. Yet it has somehow inked itself in my memories. I remember a walk through a small town listening to The Jabberwocky. I remember a book of poetry by John Keats. I remember giggling at the Eros display at the Southbank Festival of Love and a little red book falling open on a particular page.

In Paris With You by James Fenton

The only poem I will ever truly love. Its words make me smile as I ponder over memories it stirs. Far from the pretentious fluff I usually encounter, it feels so real. I like the honest depiction of Paris- believe me, it is full of romance of course, but it is also filled with the everyday ordinary. It just so happens that ordinary in Paris is better than wonderful anywhere else. This poem is exactly the kind of Paris I can imagine. It feels like the Paris being described is the Paris I know. It seems to perfectly word everything I want to say. Normally I disregard this kind of rubbish, but really, finding this poem must have been fate.

In Paris With You by James Fenton

Don’t talk to me of love. I’ve had an earful
And I get tearful when I’ve downed a drink or two.
I’m one of your talking wounded
I’m a hostage. I’m marooned.
But I’m in Paris with you.

Yes I’m angry at the way I’ve been bamboozled
And resentful at the mess I’ve been through.
I admit I’m on the rebound
And I don’t care where we are bound.
I’m in Paris with you.

Do you mind if we do not go to the Louvre
If we say sod off to sodding Notre Dame,
If we skip the Champs-Élysées
And remain here in this sleazy

Old hotel room
Doing this and that
To what and whom
Learning who you are,
Learning what I am.

Don’t talk to me of love. Let’s talk of Paris,
The little bit of Paris in our view.
There’s that crack across the ceiling
And the hotel walls are peeling
And I’m in Paris with you.

Don’t talk to me of love. Let’s talk of Paris.
I’m in Paris with the slightest thing you do.
I’m in Paris with your eyes, your mouth
I’m in Paris with… all points south.
Am I embarrassing you?
I’m in Paris with you.

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