A Safe Place

She wasn’t well

A friend took her in

Gave her a room at the inn next door

A venerable hotel

Room at the top to live in

A table chair and bed

And a window that looked out

On the church of Notre Dame


Safe haven now in troubled times

Respite from her stress

A place to sleep

A desk to write

Books downstairs to read

And from her window

There to see

The church of Notre Dame

The quiet presence eternally

Mother of Christ and France


One day that church would fiercely burn

Its ancient steeple fall

Perhaps a fire so fierce

They would not save the wall

Parisians and all of France

And all the world looked on

Will we save this ancient place?

Or will it meet its doom


The church is saved

It will be rebuilt

Its glory rise again

And the girl at the hotel window

Recovered and is well again


Brian Fahy

14 March 2022


+ During a period of severe mental crisis the writer Jeanette Winterson found comfort in the kindness of a friend, who gave her a place to stay in Paris, fed her and looked after her. A little room with a view became for a while her home and her safe place.

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