An adaptation of Christopher Marlowe’s translation of Ovid’s
Amores 1.2, with Donald Trump’s fervent supporters in mind
What made our beds seem hard?
And why did sleep elude us far too often?
Though the nights were long our rest was short —
We were exhausted, overwhelmed and fraught.
And all your crazy fault!
The constant piercing darts
Of love and hate and hate in equal parts
Attacked our desperate hearts.
To yield or strive, which one would give us rest?
Let’s yield, we said, a burden simply borne is best.
(Unwilling lovers, love does more torment
than such as in their bondage feel content.)
Submitting bodies, hearts and minds,
We held our captured thoughts for you to bind.
No need for war (we sued with you for peace)
As arms to conquer harmlessness was pointless.
Lately caught, displaying new-made wounds,
Like slavish fashionistas — captive-like be-manacled and bound,
Examples and disciples like all fools that seek love’s wrack —
With thoughts tied up like idiots, behind a beaten back.
And famous, worshipped as a king,
In triumph, loudly did your vassals sing.
Smooth speeches, fear and rage sat by your side,
Your tropes had conquered (truth had long since died).
But when in time we erred, so many did you burn,
And gave wounds infinite at every turn,
In spite of us your arrows flew,
A scorching flame for all you thought you knew,
A Trump-et blast of truth you said,
But who believes you now — some do,
As working class and bourgeoisie
Were caught in your appalling calumny,
And soldiers’ constant marching bands
Manipulated all the sad and lonely captured
With their captivating hands.
■ Steve Rushton’s books of poetry include Burning a Paper Plate, towards
a new art, lines written and Various Wanted. 21st-Century Poetry is
edited by Andy Croft, email firstname.lastname@example.org.