Friday, September 9, 2011

Old house in Sommières

[Google Maps image — Click to enlarge]
Route Saussine 15

Only of late have I come to see this house
As something poisoned when I paid for it;
Its beauty was specious and it hid pure grief.
Your absence, dearest, brings it no relief.
We have all died here; one by spurious one
Of indistinct diseases, lack of sun, or fun,
Or just our turn came up, now mine; so be it, none
Decline into oblivion without a guide,
The last of maladies, death, love can provide
The abandoned garden, dried up fountain oozes,
A stagnant fountain full of tiny frogs
Like miniature Muses; say to yourself
No hope of change with death so near.
Days come and sigh and disappear.
Despair camps everywhere and my old blind dog
Though lacking a prostate pisses everywhere.

Lawrence Durrell, in Caesar's Vast Ghost
The "absence" mentioned by Durrell was that of his wife Claude-Marie, who died on New Year's Day 1967, less than a year after their purchase of the house in Sommières. Durrell himself died in this house on 7 November 1990. He was buried in the graveyard behind the chapel of Saint Julien de Montredon, a few kilometers north-west of Sommières.

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