Anna de Noailles, "Verdun"

Verdun

Silence cloaks this world-famous name:
A boundless morrow wraps Verdun.
There French men came, one by one,
Step by step, by days, by hours,
To prove their most proud, most stoic love.

In the stygian test they have fallen asleep.

Their trembling widow, immortal Verdun,
As if to implore their transcendant return
Raises the two arms of her two high towers.
Passerby, do not seek to praise the place
Sheltered by angels sprung from French soil.
Blood pours in such plenty that no human voice
May mingle in vain and febrile complaint
With the endless vapors of this earthly incense.
In the carved and scarred plain here see
The sainted, unsounded power of the land
Whose finest hearts lie at rest beneath.

In this place one cannot give death a name,
So truly did each consent to that gift.
By swallowing all, earth made itself man.

Passerby, measure your gesture and words.
Watch, adore, pray–do not speak what you feel.

–Anna de Noailles, née de Brancovan

About Victoria Janssen

Victoria Janssen’s first erotic novel, The Duchess, Her Maid, The Groom and Their Lover (Harlequin Spice, December 2008), was translated into French and German. Her second Spice novel, The Moonlight Mistress (December 2009), was translated into Italian and nominated for a RT Reviews Reviewers’ Choice Award. Her third novel is The Duke & The Pirate Queen (December 2010). She has also published erotic short stories as Elspeth Potter. Her blog features professional writing and marketing tips, genre discussion, book reviews, and occasional author interviews.
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