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70 B.C./A.D. 2001

Len Krisak

When Sicily, that bone scraped clean by Verres,
Had just two treasures left at Enna, Ceres
And Neoptolemus in gold (too huge
To be pulled down; two gods that would not budge),
The prosecutor Cicero proclaimed,
Of those colossi Verres never maimed,
“Their beauty was their danger, but their size
Their safety.” Cicero could not be blamed
For what he had no way to realize,
Of course: that there would come, all in time’s light,
Such men as mullahs, drunk on dynamite,
Who found two Buddhas “idols” in their sight
And blew those giant stones of Bamiyan
To kingdom come, to please the Taliban.

~

Len Krisak most recent books are translations of Rilke’s New Poems, Catullus’s Carmina, and
Ovid’s Erotic Poems (the Ars Amatoria and Amores). An award-winning poet, his own work, Afterimage, appeared in 2014.