May I wish you all a very happy All Hallows Eve? I’ve been waiting a long time to share today’s post with you. We have a treat on this spooky night – a passage by Pedro Antonio de Alarcon which perfectly translates the ghostly atmosphere of an old cemetery into something beautiful and awe-inspiring.
‘What are those ignes fatui which I can see shining in certain places on the terrestrial globe, ever since the moon veiled her light?’ asked the young man.
‘They are cemeteries. We are now above Paris. Side by side with every city, every town, every village of the living there is always a city, a town, or a village of the dead, as the shadow is always beside the body. Geography, then, is of two kinds, although mortals only speak of the kind which is agreeable to them. A map of all the cemeteries which there are on the earth would be sufficient indication of the political geography of your world. You would miscalculate, however, in regard to the population; the dead cities are much more densely populated than the living; in the latter there are hardly three generations at one time, while, in the former, hundreds of generations are often crowded together. As for the lights you see shining, they are phosphorescent gleams from dead bodies, or rather they are the expiring gleams of thousands of vanished lives; they are the twilight glow of love, ambition, anger, genius, mercy; they are, in short, the last glow of a dying light, of the individuality which is disappearing, of the being yielding back his elements to mother earth. They are – and now it is that I have found the true word – the foam made by the river when it mingles its waters with those of the ocean.’ The Angel of Death paused. (“The Friend of Death”)”
Blessings to you,