Funny-but-wise poem about Paris and dogs

You don't come across too many funny-but-wise poems in the world today, for whatever reason.

Sharp, cutting, intense, brilliant, shocking poems, sure, but funny?

Not so much.

So here — let's celebrate one such surprise winner, from Poetry Daily:


There's a preponderance of dog shit in Paris
but no one says so, attracted to its other, finer qualities.
If people were stepping in that much crap in Detroit
you'd never hear the end of it. Motown my ass, they'd say,
without so much as a backward glance at the Miracles, the Temptations.
They might remember Ike & Tina since he beat the shit out of her,
but they'd be wrong. They were from Tennessee.
What you get for the price of Paris is a certain forgiveness,
a willingness to overlook the less scenic. I don't know why.
I told a French guy once that I loved how clean and green the Seine looked;
he laughed till he almost puked. Because I was wrong, of course,
but also because cleanliness wasn't his idea of a compliment.
So let's be Paris. I'll be blind to your porn habit
and you'll elide the edges of my idiot rage.
We'll be full of shit but marvelous anyway,
and the young will flock to us
as an eternal symbol of romance.

Elizabeth Scanlon

Winter 2009-10

And here of course is that eternal symbol…in real life, living up to its reputation.


Published by Kit Stolz

I'm a freelance reporter and writer based in Ventura County.

2 thoughts on “Funny-but-wise poem about Paris and dogs

  1. Yes. The dog crap is disgusting. I always walk with my
    head down (missing some of the beauty of the city) because I do not want to step in any of the crap. I have been here on
    vacation for nearly three months and saw 2, yes, 2 people pick up after their dogs. I never wear shoes in the house
    or apartment and thus my place is very clean. Do others just
    track that crap into their homes? I do not know. I dislike
    dogs intensely. They smell terrible. I do not like seeing them in places where food is dispensed — even though there are signs people bring in their “beloved” animals. UGH.


  2. I have a question and hope someone has an answer. I notice
    that just about all French women run their hands through their hair, pulling out loose hairs and throwing it away. They also put their hair into their mouth. Is this “cultural” or what? I am not interested in having hair in
    my food when I am in a restaurant when someone does this “hair thing.”


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