Napoleon to a St Helena Leaf

by Eugene Lee-Hamilton

Eugene Lee-Hamilton

I sit and hold my empire in my hand:

Thou, shrivelled leaf, thou, thing ephemeral,

Flecked as with faded bloodstains, thou art all

The length, the breadth, the girth of my command.

I see between thy veinings every land,

From Vistula to Tagus, in my thrall:

Now crumble up within my hand, and fall

Into black dust, thou sum of all I planned.

Is that the moaning of a tropic storm?

Its roar will soothe the gnawing in my side.

The thunder growls like cannon. Legions form.

Among the shifting clouds, and multiplied

Battalions rush to conquest, swarm on swarm.

Gnaw, vulture, gnaw: the Titan's firmly tied.

Last updated January 14, 2019