In her search for decorative iron Michelle took some quite wondrous photos ofThe ghettoes of the dead, where we, survivors still, if temporarily, built tombs
Of square stone blocks we decorated with wrought iron bent by preference to show
The shape of hearts.
A closer look also reveals the living plants the mourners placed, in memory
Of those who’d died, in pots of stone and iron urns or planted in what open ground
The throngs of those now gone still leave for growth in this vast city of the dead beneath
The open skies.
Transience and permanence, the presence of an absence that we cannot really
Grasp lies here in stately, indeed in architectural display, an elegant, an
Urban crowding not, of course, in modern form—that wouldn’t be so photogenic—
But in splendor.
Photos by Michelle Darnay-Paret, taken in France.