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Moment of Ecstasy

iPhone photo by Kaaren Kitchell



I left Shakespeare and Company with two books I’d ordered, Louis Zukovsky’s epic poem, “A,” and Robert Ward’s novel about the Sixties, “Shedding Skin.”

Should I go back to my studio now to write, or to a café? Something tugged on me in the direction of the latter.

I took the most beautiful route, along the south side of Notre Dame. The gargoyles glared down; I’ve heard they need repairing. The proportions of the trees against river and sky was… perfect.

In the park named for a pope, I looked up to see a sky smoky with clouds and the waxing gibbous moon, which seemed to be directly above our apartment to the south.

On the Pont St.-Louis, I remembered a stanza of a poem I’d written about my mother’s visit to Paris:

Here, the Pont Saint-Louis where

police tortured a gypsy for a crime,

so her mother cursed the bridge—

it crumbled seven times.

And then I spotted swans. Six swans, with seventeen ducks nearby. I hadn’t seen swans on the Seine in a while.

All I wanted at the café was a hot chocolate. Maybe the waitress disapproved—not much of an order—since she promptly forgot it. I reminded her, sipped and read and wrote, and left the café at 9:30 back across the Pont St.-Louis.

There in the middle of the bridge was a man singing, in front of him a telescope with a sign, “Regardez Les Cratères de la Lune.” 

How much? I asked.

Whatever you want to donate, he said.

He aimed the telescope; I leaned down. The image was so close I felt as if I could leap onto the moon. The craters on the right side were more pronounced and numerous than on the left.

That’s because the line between day and night is strongest on the right side, he said.

Of course! The moon has her days and nights, just as we do, depending on where the sun is shining his light on her.

Two French men came dashing up and brushed cheeks with the man offering the moon.

They introduced themselves. Nicolas and Charlie, and the moon man was Jean-Raphael.

Voyez-vous une femme chantant à pleine voix, ou un lapin dans la lune? I asked.

Un lapin! they said.

Naturally, rabbits being one of Aphrodite’s creatures, like Paris herself and the French. 

You can see Saturn and her rings, too, said Jean-Raphael.

I peered into the telescope. Nothing. Again. Nothing. And then, there it was, tiny, ringed, a bright dot just to the right of the moon.

I looked up and had that sense of standing in eternity: three men and I paying homage to the Moon and Saturn from the Pont St.-Louis with the Seine and swans below on one of the last warm nights of summer in Paris: a moment of ecstasy!



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Reader Comments (16)

Oh, good, Paris Play is back !! More!! much love to you and Richard, Polly

Sunday, September 3, 2017 at 21:46 | Unregistered Commenterpolly frizzell

Thank you, Polly! We'll try to deliver. Hugs, love to you, Kaaren & Richard

Sunday, September 3, 2017 at 21:57 | Registered CommenterKaaren Kitchell & Richard Beban

Thank you for this moment of ecstasy, written so that I could have the same ecstasy. Ecstasy multiplied.

Monday, September 4, 2017 at 1:41 | Unregistered CommenterTristine

Welcome back dear Kaaren .... I have missed "Paris Play" and it is wonderful to "hear your voice" again!

Something in the air these days with astronomy, what with the recent "Total Solar Eclipse" .... huge big deal over here in the States.

But also, for me, on a personal level , because Daniel's and my daughter, Salihah, and son-in-law, Douglas, just named their new daughter " Sagan", after Carl Sagan, the great Astro-Physicist .... they are really into the wonders of outer space, and study the stars and planets through their big telescope which they set up on their land in Colorado! The last time I was out there we got to observe Jupiter and it's moons and also Venus. It really is amazing, so I can totally empathize with the ecstacy.
Suddenly we are put into perspective, we are all " The Incredible Shrinking Man" and we are infinitesimal, but we exist!!!


Monday, September 4, 2017 at 5:51 | Unregistered CommenterMalika Moore


Thank you so much! I'd love to hear your news. I will send you by email a review I just read on your book about Anais Nin.

Much love,

Kaaren (& Richard)

Monday, September 4, 2017 at 17:02 | Registered CommenterKaaren Kitchell & Richard Beban

Dear Malika,

Thank you!

That is a wonderful name for a child: Sagan. It is thrilling to be in closer relationship to the planets and stars, isn't it? And living in Colorado, your daughter and son-in-law must have a terrific view of outer space.

I don't see it in terms of size so much as that we humans are in relationship with all the creatures of earth and all the great planetary bodies and constellations. That relationship is what gives joy.

I'm so glad to hear from you. I know if Daniel were reading this, he'd send a poem about the Moon, and he'd have a handful from which to choose. I thought about him with love the day I posted this.


Kaaren & Richard

Monday, September 4, 2017 at 17:10 | Registered CommenterKaaren Kitchell & Richard Beban

Amazing, needed post!!!
with love from the California cauldron of Dante's rage

Monday, September 4, 2017 at 19:22 | Unregistered CommenterElena Karina Byrne

What a delight to hear from you, Elena! Thank you so much. I love all the poems you've been posting lately on www.theenchantinverses.

Yes, the cauldron of rage. All the disasters lately do feel Dantesque.

Love to you,

Kaaren & Richard

Monday, September 4, 2017 at 21:33 | Registered CommenterKaaren Kitchell & Richard Beban

Aaaaaaaaah, I'm back in Paris again. Thank you Kaaren!

Tuesday, September 5, 2017 at 8:04 | Unregistered CommenterLisa, Former FBW Co-Head with Sir Richard

You're so welcome, Lisa!


Kaaren and Richard

Tuesday, September 5, 2017 at 21:09 | Registered CommenterKaaren Kitchell & Richard Beban

Ahhh, sanity, poetry, nature, community, beauty! Thanks for allowing us to peek into that telescope with you-- and in on your exchange with those jovial fellows.

Much love to you guys!


Monday, September 11, 2017 at 5:22 | Unregistered CommenterCassandra

Dear Kaaren

I have been enthralled by your text "A moment of ecstasy". So beautifully written! so enchanting...I must go and see by myself...
well, I must confess: I am "the man offering the moon's" mother!
I love you, Kaaren!

Monday, September 18, 2017 at 13:06 | Unregistered CommenterDanielle Gilis

Thanks, Kaaren, for this lunacy, which in our current political climate translates to sanity. Beauty is truth...

Best, jim

Tuesday, September 19, 2017 at 17:21 | Unregistered CommenterJim Natal

Ah Cassandra,

Just saw your comment ten days later. Thank you!

Sending love back to you and Marcus and Sol.


Kaaren & Richard

Thursday, September 21, 2017 at 19:48 | Registered CommenterKaaren Kitchell & Richard Beban

Dear Danielle,

What a delight to hear from you. If a son grows up to be able to offer such moments of enchantment as Jean-Raphael does as musician and astronomer, you've succeeded as a mother. Which makes sense since his name means "gift of God" and "archangel of healing." Thank you!

I love you right back.

Kaaren (& Richard)

Thursday, September 21, 2017 at 19:56 | Registered CommenterKaaren Kitchell & Richard Beban

Great to hear from you, Jim.

You're right, there are (at least) two kinds of lunacy, and this kind of experience is our preferred one.

The other kind of Trump lunacy is closer to madness. Beauty is truth, and Trump is a liar. We keep saying, This too shall pass.

Love to you and Tania,

Kaaren & Richard

Thursday, September 21, 2017 at 20:01 | Registered CommenterKaaren Kitchell & Richard Beban

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