Dear Augustus

They have trapped you in stone, dear Augustus,
with eyes that still imagine southern fields,
yet see only walls of museums
like prisons of beauty that hold you fast.

Your brow is smooth and clear, untroubled
by the centuries, nor creased in two millennia;
without a blink, a nod, to disturb
the contemplation of your empire in ruin.

Whatever hand – that day long ago – knew your beauty.
This he preserved. That is the you in stone.
No more armies or governors, nor city walls;
you look out now from a fortress far more enduring.

And I, who paused to return the glance,
have met you across the fields of time.