Thursday, July 27, 2017


The Emperor Rudolph had his wizards
Summon great Achilles to attend him;
But every Achilles thinks that he
Is the great Achilles -- even Zeno's
Who spends a dull eternity
Not reaching a smug tortoise.
Getting lost in the palace corridors
They roistered into a dream
Belonging to Bette, the new kitchen girl.
Achilles the first -- the Greek one --
Rode on a large yellow horse
Who introduced himself as Xanthos
"Achilles speaks only Greek; I will translate
For him and the others. Achilles you know;
These gentlemen are the Achilles of
The Achilles of
France, the Achilles of Sicily,
The Achilles of
Lombardy, and the two
Achilleses of
England. (Since one of them –
The first Duke of Wellington--
Won't be born for almost two centuries
We have represented him with a handsome rag doll.)
How can we serve you? Please note that all these men
Are brave beyond measure but have bad tempers
Except for Achilles of
Lombardy, who is kindly
But something of a coward."

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