Tony Towle

Ethos

 

Vous Ítes un de ces types Protestants qui

se trouve seulement ŗ GenŤve

(You are one of those Protestant types

one finds only in Geneva)

I overheard an older man saying lasciviously to a young one

at the Cedar Bar a very long time ago

in clear, textbook French and I was startled,

apprehensive for a second that it had been directed at me,

though I have never been to Geneva,

and I donít think thatís what Calvin had in mind when he went to Geneva;

he went to create an ethos,

through which as a distant subtextual consequence

I find myself engaged in marginally necessary yardwork

somewhere between Olivebridge and Krumville

to justify midnight sensuality later on, in the waters of the

     enchanted spring

with Dian, the woodland nymph

who conveyed me here from the metropolis

by means of a spirited white Toyota ó

but work for reward is not what Calvin meant either, really,

yet it is out of his control, isnít it, for thatís what happens to an ethos:

it dapples the landscape like invisible confetti from a distant century,

falling unobserved as one rakes the leaves,

gathers the kindling.

 

             

                                                                                               2001


from Nine Immaterial Nocturnes

Copyright © 2008 by Tony Towle. All rights reserved. Copyright © 2008 by Tony Towle. All rights reserved.