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In this Castle of a Sleeping Beauty

Updated on November 2, 2011

The village of Marville in Lorraine, France, once was a Spanish domain, very prosperous, where numerous noble, bourgeois and trading families had settled down. The church of Saint-Hilaire, dating from the 12th century, still is surrounded by a graveyard with beautiful tombstones and a remarkable ossuary (15th century). Most of the ossuaries like this one have now disappeared, but the cemetery of Saint-Hilaire still shelters 40.000 skulls and bones...

The photos were taken by embee and used with permission. The poems were written by Patrick Bernauw, aka the Lost Dutchman, and inspired by the cemetery and the ossuary of Marville, France.

The poem In this Castle of a Sleeping Beauty, starring Lisa Lomé and Hard Boiled Harry, was animated by the LateNight StageFright Company and directed by the Lost Dutchman.

In this Castle of a Sleeping Beauty

Time slips slowly

as in this castle of a Sleeping Beauty

where I am dreaming for a while now


Where I am dreaming for a while now

in this house upon a hill

where only clouds are closing by


And time slips slowly

near the river where the water

is everlasting polishing a stone

so lonely

and where we are forgotten

by the little people down under

the willow trees and the birds and the bees

and me.

Yes time slips slowly

in this castle of a Sleeping Beauty

where I am dreaming for a while now


The Ossuary of Saint-Hilaire, photos taken by embee:

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Caretaker Motsch has arranged these 40.000 skulls here, in 1890.We were like you...You will be like us...Pray for us...
Caretaker Motsch has arranged these 40.000 skulls here, in 1890.
Caretaker Motsch has arranged these 40.000 skulls here, in 1890.
We were like you...
We were like you...
You will be like us...
You will be like us...
Pray for us...
Pray for us...

A Tombstone Tale


And now this flesh knows no shame

as these words know delusion

nor despair.

And there is no smile on my mouth

as there are no tears

in my eyes.


I am the Virgin, mortified

and turned to stone,

her days of glory



in the wind.

(Alone and yet side by side

with the sins I've gathered,

I'm lying

under a tombstone,

telling my tale -



How I bursted in the joints

of time and how I was

erased as a God

of terracotta.

How an acid rain

is gnawing at my bones now,

at my house built with the stones

of the night.

How I am not praying anymore,

but hoping.


It's so quiet here that I

can no longer hear the sounds

of silence in the city

with no name.

Nothing will ever be easy now

there is no longer a home

waiting for me



And all my dreams are here

sleepwalking and all

my memories:


And all my words are dust

blowing out of the open wound

that is my mouth.

And when I come to you,

it's like if the sun



No, I do not know

death because I did not know


And I do not know justice

because I was not


And no one here will hear

my name because I was never


Tombstone Tales, photos taken by embee:

Click thumbnail to view full-size

Thinking of Stonehenge

Our stones know where

the stars are as they determine days

and hours from here

to eternity.

Stylized debris,

passage for a sunrise.

And nothing perishes.

And nothing never returns.

From my own past I am

the archaeologist: out of the foundations

of the present I'm delving


Shards of shame,

a splinter pain

and of my fears

the skeleton.

Ossuaire Saint-Hilaire, Marville:
Ossuaire Saint-Hilaire, 55600 Marville, Frankrijk

get directions

The Saint-Hilaire Ossuary at Marville, France.


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