When I was in Paris, alone, before the war,
To make ends meet, I played piano at the old Hotel
The gaunt maitre d' helped her coat off at the door,
And what had driven me from home at once came clear.
She asked for "Night and Day".
"For the same, in turn," I said.
She had eyes like summer thunder,
And lilac petals in her bed.
Her family was Prussian--estates, a coat of arms--
And they had hoped a trip abroad might mend her
father's failing health.
For his part, he seemed...unimpressed with my rude
But love, like anything, seems richer plied in stealth.
We'd meet in low cafes.
We would meet along the Seine.
But when Poland fell she told me
That we could not meet again.
So I consoled myself with music and philosophy
And with egregious quantities of wine
But when the German tanks rolled through the Arc de Triomphe
I found something new to occupy my mind
The information my confederates would bring me
I'd encode as fake transcribed orchestral parts
Which I'd bike out to the suburbs, waiting at the checkpoints
With the cows and vegetable carts.
Someone got careless or somebody was broken
Half our cell vanished in a night
I reached the countryside but never got back in the fight
And you know the rest--how, at last, on Norman sands,
Across a body trail, the Allies ran the German guns
She stood at my door, bloodspray on her face and
And said that it would mean her life if she were
But love is blind as justice,
That love is doomed that starts to doubt.
I called on friends and called in favors:
They didn't like it, but they got her out.
You say she bore secrets. Well, this I could not
But if you're right, and if I had, I fear I would
have done the same.
You see, I still loved her, and whatever winds now
My only crime was love, and love my only shame.
Carve these words below my name.