Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Mt St Michel - gawping at Babel Tower



And though you say you won't be just another tourist; won't stop and click
each time you reach each little bright blue starburst belvedere
that Michelin sees fit to mark the map with; won't gawp and gaze
whenever you glimpse it over the market gardens and the rescued fields,
across the tranquil polders, peopled by Dutch-looking farms and poplars;
won't stand on every headland up to Granville on the Cotentin
to see its martial and angelic profile - known from a million postcards,
tablemats, key-rings and coffee table books and paperweights -
faint like a bugle's echo over the watered sands; won't fall over
a hundred other people speaking all the tongues of Babel Tower,
kneeling and gasping and pointing their lenses just like you
under the floodlights in the night-time car park...

You will.

And you'll marvel.
Because that's what it's there for.

14 comments:

Rouchswalwe said...

Bravo!
I would, too.
Did Molly look?

Plutarch said...

I have decided that tourism is an honourable occupation, though there is a still a whiff of the feeling, which this tourist entertains, that only other tourists are bad. I even walk around with my more serious camera suspended in front of me like a badge of office, rather to Heidi´s embarrassment. Meanwhile by showing a world famous tourist attraction in an unfamiliar series of shots at different distances, you have easily transcended the picture post card, yet at the same supported my thesis. Tourism is OK in the right hands.

julie said...

Because that's what it's there for.

Yes, indeed.
Thanks, Lucy!

Reluctant Blogger said...

ha yes, I am the same. I took photos of Holy Island from every conceivable angle at the weekend. I just kept coming upon it unexpectedly.

I always think it is a mark of being settled somewhere when you fail to notice the tourist sites anymore. I never notice our Cathedral anymore and often wonder why people are standing staring upwards.

marja-leena said...

Oh yes, I'm guilty too! But it is wonderful to have these photo memories to look at again years later. And to post on our blogs, too, which you always do so well. And sometimes something will evolve into a piece of artwork.

Setu said...

Bonjour Lucy,
No, I can testify, you can't help turning your eyes towards it when the Marvel is in sight... I experienced its special magic when I got my first paid (not much) job as a field geologist 30 years ago. I had to track every "Brioverian" schist outcrop on the coast and inland between Granville and Pontorson and I often drove to Mont-St-Michel to have my lunchtime sandwich looking at it.

Zhoen said...

Nodes of human fascination.

Meggie said...

Lovely words to go with the images.

Meredith said...

Wonderful post. Gorgeous, mysterious photos.

I want to see the Mont St Michel sometime in my lifetime. But I feel as if I've already had a glimpse by reading your blog tonight.

Thank you.

Dale said...

:-) I love tourists, ones that are nice, anyway. Even the ones who aren't are good comic value.

I remember seeing an American woman alight at the Parthenon, march up to it, lift her camera -- and then drop it in disgust. "The sun's on the wrong side!" she exclaimed, and marched back to the bus, glowering. Those damn Greeks had screwed up again.

herhimnbryn said...

Yes!
And people have been looking for hundreds of years.

Isabelle said...

Ah! I was there when I was 12, a million years ago. I'd love to go back and see it with oldish eyes.

Barrett Bonden said...

Aha, the Michelin belvedere - a much better word than the crummy point de vue. Sometimes I imagine myself to be a robot controlled by Michelin. Driving along a road which is edged with green on the map to identify a route of great beauty. Then noticing a gap in the green. An accident in the cartography? Could M. Bibendum have made a mistake? No, there's the cement works.

Bee said...

What a beautiful montage, Lucy. It is obviously well-worth looking at, time and time again.