Fantine never knew she'd die a martyr
but her story could tell, with its calico
patches, its daughter forsaken, its hope dead and gone,
that this woman was destined for deep, divine grief.
Hell has a way of giving mortals to angels,
who know better the value of each wretched life.
The poor can't go to the end of their lives
without stooping and breaking, and breaking the laws of The Martyr.
They hope for forgiveness -- the embrace of angels --
and a truer life, no longer held to the limitations of calico
bodies and patched, ragged souls. But grief
is no respecter of persons -- she preys on the hopeful and the far gone.
When Fantine gave in to misery, she became poor -- gone
were the riches of love and virtue and life.
At the back of her mind, with terrible radiance, grief
took hold, and slowly she was transfigured. A martyr,
at first, emanates softly the tired beauty of calico.
Her broken heart was the beacon that recalled reluctant angels
to their promise. She would soon join the angels.
When the light of earth had gone
from her face, and she had been remade of calico,
she would be -- she will soon be -- rid of her wretched life.
The light of Heaven filled Fantine who became the martyr
for those who are still haunted by grief,
consumed and transfigured by deep, divine grief.
This is how we become angels --
first by forsaking the hope of the martyr,
then by grieving until every trace of Hell is gone
and we know better the valley of the wretched life.
I see this happiness near me, but I can't let go
of the light of earth. It shifts through calico
patches and illuminates the terror of my grief.
It is harder than Hell to cast aside life.
But my own broken heart beckons to angels
who show me the joy that it is to be gone
and the Heaven set aside for each martyr.
My heart of calico,
torn by the movements of grief, now mended by angels,
is all that remains of my wretched life.