Empires of mist

Issue OneIssuesPoetry

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By Duncan Richardson


Suleyman the Magnificent*

twice bereaved

found solace in poetry for a while

then war

dying in the field

on his thirteenth campaign

tent billowing

in a foreign breeze

forty thousand soldiers praying

in the dawn

breath misting

and when the cannon called

they called for him.


His words live on

his empire’s stanza-ed

into nations

but his grief glides free

every morning

whereever breath

meets air.



*Sultan of the Ottoman Empire 1520-66


Image by Trần Anh Tuấn