Xerxes' Tears - Poem by Mark Sauer
He paused the westward march of all the East
Near Sardis, to wonder at the beauty
Of a plane tree. As if a simple priest,
He hung with gold the emerald canopy
And sang a reverent hymn; then drove the host
Of Asia on, with whips, to Asia's brink.
The panoply of millions on the coast
O'erwhelmed the King of Kings, who wept to think
A century hence would turn to dust each one.
Pythios gave a plane tree cast of gold,
Praying the king to spare his eldest son
The march. Stung, Xerxes in twain the child clove,
And between the halves, with his next breath,
Marched the millions to a much sooner death.
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