Tony Towle

The Sea and the Wind



There is no light, and no quiet;

some areas are smaller than others; a shout

is not heard at once,

but makes a way in leisure to your ear,

and in a moment of leisure you hear it,

with the sound of your voice.

I do not know clearly what it is,

but now in  the lime dusk I write about it,

enveloped like time in a larger facsimile.

And soon it will be louder,

until there will be no further need for notes,

or even for an end to it, having multiplied as children

within their boundaries of sensitive particles,

in generations to languish in the respective arms of civilizations,

coming of age in China, ancient Greece, or the fabled Levant —

French for getting up, going to the bathroom

and back to bed, beset with Parisian dreams,

adrift like islands amidst our American ones conceived in English,

all of them together irrigating the wide basin of simple life.

Children learn to deal with the local merchants,

and become used to it;

they go outside and give themselves up to it,

in series of events that rival an eclipse of the sun;

they go alone or with a guide far off in the night,

passing our monuments and tombs

which reflect their obviously transitory state.

Children eat too much, too many cakes and too much candy;

they have vacations, drive to the mountains and beaches

and come back; travel through forests and over boulevards,

until finally there are the continents, the oceans,

and the vastnesses of outer space

to make up the eyes’ foreign vision.

In the meantime they find flowers together, fences, stems,

marble, exalted feelings, and ornate cornices;

there are excursions to museums, pursuing

one another down corridors, grapes, underbrush, memories,

and Mozart concerti among the dominant points of interest,

and a gabled roof, a swooping hawk, the silver flash of a trout,

dramatic but nonetheless minor points,

rejoining always one’s generation at the elevator,

or elevation, to the combined hallucination and dream.



from  The History of the Invitation: New & Selected Poems 1963 - 2000

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