507 - Les Misérables

François Villon showed himself around Hell
car il connoit tout fors que soi-mêmes -
the streets of Paris - an infinite well
where rats lived by luck more than stratagem.

misery is a horizon close
to the bone. the glamour of crime went out
like the stars when a great-hearted girl chose
poor-spirited lads - if they were devout.

the Virgin Mary was there to assure
despair - even it could be terminal -
that Love would go beyond the measure
of magistrate and petty criminals.

mercy was this tidal moon and her tugs.
the streets still push fortune as a drug.

Woodford Halse
27 May 2021

You might like to refer to Robert Louis Stevenson’s essay on François Villon ( 1431 - c 1463 ) for lines 7-8. Line 2 paraphrases the refrain from Villon’s ” Ballade des menus propos”, which runs je connois tout, fors que moi-mêmes ( I knew everything, except myself” ).