Les Plus Beaux Villages de France: Wintzfelden to Eguisheim

I remember in Wintzfelden

Saint Odile’s Church–

and Gare de Aumont-Aubrac

where our driver, Odile,

brought us gracious and miraculous relief.


to those with no belief–

It’s Providence–

my gladdening motif.


Such is the way

of the hiker and pilgrim

of the Chemin de Saint Jacques

de Compostele.

Ul-tre-ia! Bonne route!

Pain and Frustration- –

being lost to boot–

Joy and elation

made weariness moot.


The sheltering storks

in Le Parc des Cigognes

clack incessantly

throwing back their heads

in territorial joy.

Migrants no longer,

they have no need to be coy

about scraps from the fishmonger,

or ponds filled with koi.


And who exactly was Leo IX,

presiding over us in the square?

Bruno von Eguisheim

pope and reformer

patriot and pilgrim

who walked into Rome.

With words of humble wisdom,

barefoot, far from home,

he was acclaimed with saintdom.


But today, we enjoy the accordionist

busking in the square,

harassed by the police,

squeezing his schmaltzy melodies

amid the tinkling fountain.

His reedy vibrato

makes him a dance tunes captain,

his deft obbligato

curls round us like a curtain.

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