East of Paris Bookstore

Monday, November 21, 2011

Tread Softly

When visiting great buildings and monuments, I have a tendency to look up at the soaring structures and forget what is under my feet. So it was at the great Cathedral in Reims, France:  Notre-Dame de Reims, where for centuries French kings were crowned. Everything is designed to pull your eye and spirit upward.  

It is beautiful. 
But, if you never look down, you will miss the plaques in the floor. One reminds us of the spot where St. Remi baptized Clovis (on Christmas in 496 A.D.). 
Another notes the spot where St. Nicasius was martyred in 406 A.D., when Vandals cut off his head.
Looking down can really make you think, and thinking leads you up once more.

HAD I the heavens’ embroidered cloths,
Enwrought with golden and silver light,
The blue and the dim and the dark cloths
Of night and light and the half light,
I would spread the cloths under your feet:
But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
I have spread my dreams under your feet;
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams. 
W.B. Yeats (1865–1939)
"He Wishes For the Cloths of Heaven"

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