A cloudy morning, in Carcassonne
I strolled up the hill to the cité
Thirsty, but I quietly forgot my water
As the stonelike cité drew from me
That medieval feeling, surprising
Only describable in mason’s words.
Of course, it was restored, and badly
But all that means is one man’s vision
Threw itself upon the walls –
How could my eyes, throwing their glance
Have done any better?
And the Roman turrets, frowning
Sit grumpily next to their descendants
And those of the architects mind
The final result of which is to bring
To the forefront, a kind of archetype
Of the castle, and fill it with small shops
A living plastic castle, but larger
Than the ones that sit in the tourist stores
That only a maniac would ever buy –
A distorted image, tiredly painted
And manufacturing artifacts, usurping
The small streets, false world
Neglecting the boding inner defenses
Whose ravenous belly once descended
To mark the rich from the poor in the dirt.
But this place calms me, working
To shore up my fractured living
Presenting history as a balm.
Slowly climbing a staircase, caressing
With wonder the modern stairs, mistaken
For a bygone age’s deep invention.
Recordings, in the lopsided cathedral
Of gregorian chants, fall out of the speakers
Further relaxing my shoulders, projecting
Another image, of ancient chanters
Carefully walking the halls.
A nostalgia for a simpler time
Illusory time, with less, and bigger, worries
O’ invasion or famine, but inbetween
A community works the land.
Children run in the pews about me
Doubtless brought for education
I hope these people know what they have.
These smiling individuals, would soon have found
It harder to smile, then, and the adults too.
This wistful air brings simplification
An intensity seen through a stained glass window
A dark religion’s shadow, hand in hand
With the shadow of an imposing world
Clamoring wallward, sweeping inwards
Profit dribbling up the streets, corroding.
Though nothing can harm these shining moments
For the people who came here, only to stand
Before their own little history, reaching for others
For something more, elusive, floating
In this universe unmanned.
I remember my thirst, I search for a fountain
But can find no water, only sand.

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