A Monument Of Beauty And Perseverance – Bussokusekika Poem

Weekly Tanka Prompt Poetry Challenge – Week 104 – Beauty & Monument

The “Weekly Tanka Challenge Prompt” is now also a Poetry Challenge (any form).

This weeks challenge is a true story of a monument (pictured below) built one stone at a time by this man:  Ferdinand Cheval (19 April 1836 – 19 August 1924) was a French postman who spent thirty-three years of his life building Le Palais idéal (the “Ideal Palace”) in Hauterives.  The Palace is regarded as an extraordinary example of naïve art architecture. 

Cheval began the building in April 1879. He reported:

I was walking very fast when my foot caught on something that sent me stumbling a few meters away, I wanted to know the cause. In a dream I had built a palace, a castle or caves, I cannot express it well… I told no one about it for fear of being ridiculed and I felt ridiculous myself. Then fifteen years later, when I had almost forgotten my dream, when I wasn’t thinking of it at all, my foot reminded me of it. My foot tripped on a stone that almost made me fall. I wanted to know what it was… It was a stone of such a strange shape that I put it in my pocket to admire it at my ease. The next day, I went back to the same place. I found more stones, even more beautiful, I gathered them together on the spot and was overcome with delight… It’s a sandstone shaped by water and hardened by the power of time. It becomes as hard as pebbles. It represents a sculpture so strange that it is impossible for man to imitate, it represents any kind of animal, any kind of caricature.

I said to myself: since Nature is willing to do the sculpture, I will do the masonry and the architecture”

For the next thirty-three years, Cheval picked up stones during his daily mail round and carried them home to build the Palais idéal. He spent the first twenty years building the outer walls. At first, he carried the stones in his pockets, then switched to a basket. Eventually, he used a wheelbarrow. He often worked at night, by the light of an oil lamp.

The Palais is a mix of different styles with inspirations from Christianity to Hinduism. Cheval bound the stones together with lime, mortar and cement.


this unique design
one third of a century
to be completed
began one stone at a time
a postman who had a dream
made the dream reality


11 thoughts on “A Monument Of Beauty And Perseverance – Bussokusekika Poem

  1. Thank you so much for this post, very nice Bussokusekika poem, this image deserves the story of how this place was built. I think we should spread these special achievements, of years-gone-by with all the world, if I had not been looking for an image for this weeks challenge I would never have known about it.
    It amazed me as I was reading it, stone by stone, incredible. So pleased you followed the link I left. Many Thanks my friend. have a great day.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Elsie! I am so glad this post brought you so much joy! I agree with you about that we should spread these special achievements of years-gone-by with all the world. I love true stories like this one and was just so convicted to share his testimony! Thank you for providing not only the picture but the link to learn about this story! Much Love, Deborah 😀 ❤


  2. Pingback: #Weekly Tanka Prompt #Poetry Challenge – Week 105 – Peace & Happiness – Ramblings of a Writer

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