In Paris there is a spot by Notre Dame
from which all distance is measured,
and if you turn three times
a wish is granted.
I saw old women turn and become young.
Boys wishing to fly, fly away.
Happiness returned to sorrowing hearts,
and no one was poor who left that spot.
When my turn came
I turned around,
and kept my wish to myself,
that the buttresses of the church
would unfold like wings,
the city flame into a galaxy of stars,
rain fall in my eyes like goblets of wine.
That Paris never die.
That her people laugh
and go on forever in their loving.
I turned shyly to see her boulevards expand.
The buildings shine with their pretty faces.
A feminine city,
a glorious culture,
and here I was,
at the center of its soul.
A man from Ohio
who barely grew up.
A man who looks
for his childhood toys,
and hugs all the trees on his street.
To know what the center
of the universe is like.
To go forth from his valley
and meet this city,
these beautiful people,
who like me,
need something inside that rises like the sun,
grants a wish,
and shows us where we are.