Alan Papprill: On Empire's Edge

Here, on the edge of Empire,
riding high on broadbacked hacks
we soared, Augustus and I,
with Pegasus,
above the herd,
this stream of dawn's cows,
watching the farm dog -
a veritable Diogenes -
tongue wagging,
nipping at reluctant heels,
back and forth across the path,
pausing to lap
milk trailed from leaking udders
along the gravel grey stone,
and, more slowly,
sniff death hidden in the grass.
Alone, riding our muse,
past the sacred spring,
where once mad Lear's father bathed,
along our Roman road,
we flew
to distant worlds,
wondered at others loves,
kicked over Helicon's altar
to bathe in the sacred fountains
seeking knowledge, left for futures unseen,
in the pleasures of words
and - yet to be - dreams of flesh.