Friday the 13th. As I understand it, “13” is considered an unlucky number because Caesar lead the Legio XIII Gemina across the Rubicon, and it was thus with the 13th legion that the Roman Republic was effectively destroyed. I’ve also heard that the fact that the crucifixion was, by some folks figuring, on the 13th of the month, another reason people see the day as unlucky.
- On tradition as a process, a fact that makes it feel both liberating and profoundly challenging.
- On Burke’s rhetoric
- The feuilleton, 19th century newspapers, and the birth of self-important, know-it-all ironic detachment and echo-chamber platitudes
- Poetry and the nobility of the 17th century, contra modernity
While doing my (honestly quite regular) search for rural churches this morning, I came across this church, St. Helens in Cliffe, Kent, England. Of especial interest to me is the second photograph, of the charnel house in its graveyard.
Charnel houses are places where human remains that turn up–skeletal remains dug up, unidentified bodies washed ashore, etc.–are kept until identifications can be made and proper burials take place. In many cases, they became simply depositories of unidentified skeletal remains that would be turned up when digging fresh graves, plowing fields, and the like.
A search for books about charnel houses turned up a book of long poems by Conrad Aiken, whose work I do not know. To read this weekend, then, one of the poems from that collection, “The Charnel Rose”: