Trumpet Calls        

 
Alexander

Lysippus shows you how I wished to look:

Great tumbled curls, eyes open to the sky -

A handsome hero in a classic book.

 

And all of this is almost true. Decry

Me as you will, I conquered half the earth:

The rest was mine, did I not have to die.

 

What was I like? Why ask? My fame gave birth

To Rome, the Renaissance, and Modern Man.

Ecstatic pride, I think, denotes my worth.

 

You know. at Philippi I sometimes ran

To win. yet lost. That last word, does it scan?

 

Caesar

Yes, killed at Pompey’s statue, but, you see,

My greatness did not let me linger here.

I am a god. Consult my family tree.

 

Venus and Mars .... You laugh. I must appear

Absurd. One gives so many interviews.

And most historians are fools, I fear.

 

But you - it is apparent - doubt the news.

Like me, you value truth. One must to win.

Brilliant? I think so. Wise? Do wise men lose?

 

You understand? Of course you do! And in

Your praise let my humility begin.

 

Napoleon

Others are famous: I remain unique.

So set my more than Roman virtues down -

Genius, hard work, self-centeredness, mystique.

 

Always the victor: yet each eagle flown,

Only their roosts are left. Milan, Berlin -

Such lilting sounds. Moscow - mere monotone.

 

Pure French, of course, but Greek by origin.

Italian? So they say. All peoples claim

Me now - the brigand with the thickest skin.

 

When writing of my glory, spell my name

As done in France. I am her greatest shame.