Note on Lord Acton

By Len Krisak

—Tacitus, The Annals, 6.10

And then Tiberius at last was free
To rid himself of everyone who plagued
Him. Suicides outnumbered those who begged,
Until the beggars took the dagger, too:
A purged and scoured-clean society.
An equal-opportunity deployer
Of spies delating those they either knew
(Or thought they knew) their Caesar wanted dead,
Tiberius, unfazed by law or lawyer,
Had Geminus divested of his head,
And then his mother, for the tears she shed.

——————–

Len Krisak‘s most recent books are Rilke’s New Poems (a translation), the Carmina of Catullus (also a translation), and Afterimage (original poems). With work in the Hudson, Sewanee, PN, Antioch, and Southwest Reviews, he is the recipient of the Richard Wilbur and Robert Frost Prizes, and a four-time champion on Jeopardy!


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