the Mennonite Faust


behind the barn the Mennonite bishop
has his way with the heifers
buttoning his fly he whispers to each
"You are my Marguerite"

a genetic twist -- the bishop stands
a hand taller than the Mennonite farmers
his sermons baffle and bemuse them
but tantalize the women in the pews

they say he travels beyond the next village
and the next, to the mountains, overseas
he has met famous people - Schopenhauer,
Nietzsche, Don Giovanni, Mephisto

when he returns his eyes blaze
in the hayloft over the restless sows
he tutors the young maidens, whispers to each
"Mein schoenes Fräulein"

they say his learning went to his head
the farmers stand in their boots
in the manure field and mutter
of schemes and ambiguous demonic contracts

finally, by consensus, they decide
to bury him behind the barn
under the faded hex sign
at midnight on Walpurgisnacht


-- Ross Bender