Happy Birthday, Vespasian
(November 17, 9 - June 23, 79)
Father of the Colosseum, generous paymaster
of poets, dancers and prone-to-passion lovelies,
ribald jokester, emperor with a spear that cast
a preposterous continet-long, size-matters, shadow,
how has the senate's deification of you turned out?
Tonight the gold is gone from sweet Rome.
As it rains, you are caught off-guard at the sight
of edgy mothers boiling shoe leather soup...
just in case... and bankers still guzzle champagne.
Emperor, lover of Greek poetry, patron of music,
theatre of the tragic, Vespasian,
you kept your word: I will always ensure
that the workers can earn enough
to buy bread and meat and wine.