Sunday, 14 April 2013

Postcard from Geneva. The old and new city.


1. The Old Town.

The facade of these buildings reflect the past.
Plain, functional and unadorned,
They seemingly proclaim a contempt for finery
And in this plainness the voice of Calvin
Still speaks his narrow asceticism.
But this plainness is in facade only.
Past the buildings where once reformers
In solemn black engaged in earnest discussion
About principles for which much blood was shed
Camera-clad tourists now happily stroll
And in the plate-glass of "Agent Provocateur"
Mannequins in sheer lingerie mutely attest
To the relentless inevitability of change.

Old town, Geneva
Old town.

2. The New Town.

Plainness appears to spill from the old town
Down the steep walls and into the new,
But by lake and river the city changes,
As if the sturdy burghers of Geneva,
Seeing the lyrical lake and surging Rhone
Were washed clean of the old aesthetic
And on the city-side of the lake
Constructed buildings handsome and elegant
And by the lakeshore across the surging Rhone
Ones sumptuous, grand and beautiful.


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3 buildings by the lake on the other side of the Rhone.


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