Georges Bataille

By Christopher Zoukis  Image courtesy

Consider the Titans of old and the incredible, monolithic edifices they constructed.  Vast halls, ruthless arches supported by volcano-sized columns and towers stretching up like signals.  On a smaller scale, the Abbey Vezelay is such an edifice.  Its architectural elements coalesce into forms nobler because the sum of the parts is greater than the whole.  Utter beauty. 

Surely this structure is holy; surely God cannot resist visiting; surely mankind is closer to God when within the Abbey than when outside in the so-called secular world. 

Strange then that in one of the graves in the nearby Vezelay Cemetery, a man, who once considered taking Holy Orders and attended seminary, but then renounced his faith, is buried.  Yet Vezelay, France is where he chose to reside permanently, forever after.  At the end of his life he even lived nearby, in rue de l’Hotel de ville.

The headstone is simple:  a mid-sized white rock, smooth, not like the glaze of quartz, but smooth like a chunk of chalk cut in two, with a vestige of texture to it. 

Rocks and wild grass decorate the cemetery.  There are few trees.  A gentle breeze puffs here and there, as if too satisfied to do more.  Perhaps the puffs are the pulses and drafts of angels’ wings, for the air carries the scent of the glistering realm.  And if you cease all thought and all feeling, and really listen, you can hear a faint throb, like a visible disturbance the ear hears but the eye cannot see.

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