Monday, May 16, 2016


The stars, said the Abbot Trimetheus,
Were exactly right. Should Maximilian wish
He might converse that night with ghosts
But only three. Summoning more would imperil
Both their souls. What spirits, then,
Did the Emperor wish to see roused
From their uneasy sleep?

The results, as recorded by the scribes,
Were mixed. Alexander the Great was away
Conjured by some Tuscan sorcerer
His son, also Alexander, came in his place.
He was chatty but, having been poisoned at 14
Had no useful strategic advice to offer .
Julius Caesar, bored with himself, insisted
On talking about carpets and the rules of prosody.
The last ghost -- whose husband Max had been
Until the Pope said otherwise -- was pleased
He'd remembered her;  she said that death
Wasn't nearly so bad as she'd expected.

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