Hearsay

 
It is said

That when the Emperor Honorius

Was informed at Ravenna

That Rome

had been taken by the Goths,

He was much distressed

Supposing

That the messenger meant

His favourite hen

Whose name

Was ‘Rome’,

But was at once consoled

On being told

Of his mistake.

 

Before we mock

We should be sure

That, on misinterpreting similar news.

We would not forsake

Our own grief

With the same

Imperial relief.

 

August 10th 1974