Thursday, October 13, 2016

The Findspots of the Inscriptions

The man was an epigraphic menace:
Major rock edicts, minor rock edicts,
And quite a few pillar edicts survive
The illustrious reign he thus transcribed.
His words beat the boundaries of his lands;
His lands were defined by the signs he'd carved;
His truth was coextensive with his lies.
Every time he tried to start, he started
Again: graffito upon graffito,
The carefully carved runes of the trickster

Emperor of all he dismayed, bereft
Of any ability to proceed
Much beyond an ordinary lifespan
In an ordinary physique. Monster,
Sport of nature, sport of culture myself,
How I pitied and envied the king, him,
Man not defined except by behavior
And the good fortune chisels vouchsafed him.
I left no edicts on any gravestones,
But I found every stone you'd forgotten.

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