La portail (de la Vierge) V

Thousands of declensions before this marble priest and sere, cireux Gothic wall, one could stand here and look over a leg of the Seine to sand flats and meadows and wild orchards.

She offered me water in the palm of her hand; I made a sign and drank. The well would become the belly; each bower, a portal; the great twining trees, touching as innocents, as she and me, a cathedral.

All sleep now, entombed beneath a university, the remains of a medieval cluster, its traffic and trottoirs of mud and flaking stone. We attend beneath the intersection of Rue St. Jacques and Rue Sufflot, just to the west. Perhaps, that is the reason I have always cherished Jardins du Luxembourg.

It was a simple life which passed too quickly. After the Romans, prior to the ascendancy of Christianity and two hundred years before the plague of the Norse invasions, we walked this undefined, undefiled beauty, a natural maze of sprouting trees and rabbit warrens and deer paths [as we would twelve or thirteen centuries later among the tall grasses of the North American frontier].

She gathered apples and flowers; we waited out each winter, counting each death day, then life as it began again. I remember her hair and eyes enough to know that I have not met her again. Or, perhaps, I met her once when I was too young to know that which I knew. She was named for the sacred islet; it was already an old name and passing, remembered only by the passing, toothless as infants. It is a name for a second daughter, Lutèce.

La portail (de la Vierge) [#29]
© 2009 Fammerée

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Richard Fammerée

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Photograph by Susan Aurinko

Title link: "Dance of the Unicorn" by Dizzi X

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