Beneath the King’s Panoply of Arms

Alexandros, you whose head turns a soft ear left
to the speech of friends,
almost aware of impending battle,
already confident, and right and sure, of victory,
lost to me by millennia as we measure time,
you whose hand masters enemies into companions,
whose heart conquers with love and gore,
builder of cities, Persepolis laid waste,
great-grandson of Socrates, triumph in Dionysia of Ares!

Bust of AlexanderOh beloved of Bagoas, Roxane, and Hephaestion,
sculpted by Lysippos, a paradigm for Ideal,
Exemplar sans Pareil, Lion-shock hair,
parted, sensuous lips, Apolline brow,
vision piercing beyond my future,
beyond Achilles and his rage,
with your Brahmin friend Calanus,
yes, even after your drunken slaughter of Cleitus,
I, lost in the foam of self-perpetuating Hellenization,
a man of trade in the current agora,
would follow thy train through the Indian monsoon,
through the desert trail of Semiramis,
and gladly!

Yet you, alas you, never fought your dear Cyrus,
and I shall never cheer my Alexander.

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