La Place de la Concorde
near the Hôtel Crillon.
In the Temps Perdu:
(who never forgets)
and the tricoteuses
(who never forget)
sit and knit
and wait for Marie Antoinette.
“With my machine,”
Dr Guillotin tells the Assemblée Constituante,
“I cut off your head
in the twinkling of an eye,
and you never feel it!”
In the Here and Now:
a yellow granite obelisk
from the Luxor Temple,
a gift from an Ottoman Viceroy,
rises seventy five feet
above the centre of the square.
It, too, lost its cap in the sixth century BC.
Unlike Marie Antoinette.
it has been given a gold-leafed replacement.
In 2000, the French “Spiderman”,
no hard hat or safety net,
just climbing shoes and hands quite bare,
scaled the obelisk right to the top,
to the astonishment of Harmony Square!