Auberge de la Vieux Moulin, Peyperouse

First there is the rush of water
falling past the vieux moulin,
incessant, filling ears and air with sound.

And then the birds continual voice,
roulades, chirps, everything but yet
not song as I imagined nightingales.

And hanging over all these living notes
the castle's curtain wall above the precipice,
the ruins crown the shaarply pointed peaks.

Each one a fortress build to guard the rim of France,
the stone musicians play in silent witness to the past,
where troubadors sang and gentle ladies danced.

Another past was also here,
the final refuge of the Cathar heretics
who unto death resisted orthodoxy.

The bishop said to burn them all,
heretic or not, for
“God will know the heretics.”

Two hundred Perfects would not change their faith
and gave their souls to God in the burned field
dying at Montsegur.

Lari Smith