Skip to main content

Near Albi

No trace remains of Albigensian blood
in this small town where Innocent’s crusade
proclaimed mass murder as the will of God.
Instead, a summer Sunday’s light and heat
have blessed the milling thousands, here to trade
at market stalls packed tight in every street.
I’m seeing what the jostled stranger sees:
necessities and joys passed hand to hand
in commerce carried on through centuries
of tending to a scarred and fruitful land.
May it endure beyond my gratitude
that I am briefly part of an event
surviving civil and religious feud:
this cheerful, disbelieving sacrament.