. Mourning Louis XVI We must not say in public that we mourn--- Sit still, Brigitte, and listen to your père! If we disclose our grief we court the hate Of France’s revolutionary swarm. These days are bleak for those of us well-born. Hell take that bloody butcher Robespierre, Whose love of death all Paris cannot sate! A devil in dissembled human form! Forget I said that! You must understand: My words, mes chers, are for your ears alone. I beg you, don’t repeat them on the street! Mon Dieu, what place is safe? Where can we flee From the convulsions of this fractious land? We’ve done no wrong! There’s nothing to atone But still the mob condemns us as elite And threatens torture if we don’t agree. They hate achievement, all that we have built--- Our sculptures, music, art, our splendid culture, From Rabelais and Lully to Molière. Most grievously they loathe our holy church And mock salvation earned by Christ’s blood spilt. These Bible-burners, every one a vulture, Hate all except de Sade, Rousseau, Voltaire, And others who support their leftward lurch. They’ve banned the very calendar we use And claim the names of days and months offend. They gladly would eradicate us all While sneering through a social justice mask. They claim their crimes will remedy abuse But brute destruction’s all that they intend. It seems they wish forever to recall The pleasing victimhood in which they bask. Today they made me face the guillotine And watch old comrades perish one by one, Some bravely, some defiant, some with tears. But like our King, each one maintained his wits. King Louis’ death still haunts me with this scene: “I fear for France!” he shouts. Then---whoosh---it’s done. Men rub his blood on cloth as souvenirs. A toothless hag sits smugly by and knits. But hush! There’s shouting near Les Invalides. Another noble tortured to confess Some fabricated crime, some made-up sin. Mon Dieu---police are banging on our door! This cash is all that’s left. Take what you need. Sneak out the back and run to this address. Brigitte, Antoine, my friends will take you in. Do not look back. And think of me no more. . . Brian Yapko is a lawyer who also writes poetry. He lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico.