This poem appears in the Summer 2021 issue of Modern Age. To subscribe, click here.

Commenting on Longinus’ Sublime
Or Plato’s vision of the Good and Fairest;
Correcting Homer’s hypermetric line
While meditating on the second aorist;

Perusing a palimpsest, or perhaps
Puttying out lacunae with conjectures;
Writing a learnèd note to fill some gaps
In what we know of Philo’s Attic Lectures . . .

Such is your life: a fat Germanic tome
Massive with erudition’s weighty sentence.
You breathe the air of Greece, the smoke of Rome,
The fumes of Bacchic wine without repentance.

But when you’ve slipped to Hades, cold and black,
No Orpheus will go to beg you back.