Elegy for Minor Emperors


 Elegy for Minor Emperors

by Michael Davis

No one will mourn Caesar

Not the stiff-necked night-watchmen at the German border

Neither the green nor the black olives

Nor the disinherited crown


The grapes won’t sour on the vine

The cypresses won’t bow low as his carriage passes

The stars won’t reflect his majesty in the heavens


His consort won’t throw herself on his pyre

His sons won’t be seen about in rich black robes

His concubines won’t throw themselves on couches in the garden

His horse won’t rear beneath the weight of his absence


The foreign delegations will pay their respects and proceed orderly out

The women will sleep naked in their beds

The men will stay out and get wildly drunk

The servants will fondle one another on haybails

The barbarians will track mud on mud floors

The dogs will lie down in the kennel

The sheep will huddle on the dark hill

The beetles will hum a disinterested Taps

Michael Davis is QR’s Poetry Editor

This entry was posted in QR Home. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.