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This poem is taken from PN Review 241, Volume 44 Number 5, May - June 2018.

Four Poems Ashley Anna McHugh
On the Death of Alexander

after ‘Aristotle with a Bust of Homer’ by Rembrandt

Here is the emblem of my Grecian king
who went beyond the reaches of the west,
who took what caught his eye
            then burnt the rest –
not caring that was nearly everything.

I gave him what I could – small offering,
this patterned way of thought.
            He beat his chest.
He knew already. He was unimpressed.
I’d wanted him to hear the muses sing –

but he only saw the heroes in your story,
triumphant and clever. Not the wine-dark sea.
Carved now in stone, great poet, sing to me
about the enduring bitterness of glory –
...


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