Sparkling green and white in the blue waters of the Mediterranean Sea, just off the coast of Spain, there is an archipelago called the Balearic Islands. The largest of these islands, the ‘major’ island, carries the appropriate name of Majorca.
On the northwest coast of Majorca sits the quiet village of Deya, serene beyond words. Like the many-breasted God of the Hebrews, El Shaddai, small hills press up toward the sky all along the coast. Deya surrounds and encompasses one of these profulgent mammai.
At the crown of the hill, overlooking the sea, there is a small, white church. Next to the church is the churchyard, and in the churchyard is a cemetery with white grave markers. Under one of the marmoreal slabs, quite plain, hearing but no longer listening to the voice of his muse, is buried Robert Graves.
He died December 7, 1985.
The offshore breeze walks softly across the cemetery, smelling of orange musk, sea salt and old smoke. The smoky-smell is the panting from the olive trees. Around Graves’ grave the dirt is the color of a cardboard box. Gritty like sand it quickly dissolves to powder when trod on. At the bottom of the hill, the dirt is coarse, composed of brown and black larva-sized granules. Raw and heavy because of the moisture, it breathes an odor of mold and fecundity.