. John Adams in Heaven John and Abigail Adams are being guided through heaven by John Milton. He takes them to a villa in the Elysian Fields, where they meet a famous Roman who shows them a vision of their political ancestors. Near spartan fields that nurtured simple roots, A villa sprawled with hints of pagan faith. Through lavish gardens hanging with ripe fruits, They entered, crossed a room of marble wraiths (Ancestral busts, the mugs of common farmers) Its murals cracked and laced with creeping vines, And saw a sitting figure chiseled firmer Than stone, pure morals whitening his veins. Great statesmen all belong in bliss, ergo John Adams gazed upon his hero, Cicero. Stiff muscles creaked and flexed off marble crust. Two grinding elbows moved to steady knees. Tan sandals squeaked and shook a robe of dust. “One needs the fortitude of Socrates To wait for you, John Adams,” uttered Marcus. John gaped to speak. A finger silenced words. “Just follow, or you’ll soon become a carcass.” A fountain filled a pipette up two-thirds. Sweet Abby closed her husband’s open mouth. They followed Tully down a hallway leading south. “Three eyedrops from the Well of Life. The mind Needs vision, too,” said Cicero. They both Leaned backward. Pupils drowned in fluid, blind. A light-filled tunnel, granting them new birth, Washed over John and Abby as they stood. The busts receded from the hall. “Behold Your ancestors,” said Cicero. Instead Of marble casts, a line of figures rolled Before their eyes, seeming of flesh and blood— Civilization’s leaders, risen from the mud. Stout Moses stands with tablets lightning-seared; King David plays his harp; wise Solomon, In his temple, strokes his even-whiskered beard; Cyrus reclines upon an Ottoman, Holding his cylinder of human rights; Lycurgus promulgates his warrior code To Spartans; Solon scribbles his insights, Arranging Athen’s laws within an ode; Romulus picks a hill (his twin won’t hearken); The Palatine established, Brutus ousts proud Tarquin. Augustus maps the Pax Romana’s reach And five good emperors keep it in vogue; Justinian’s wise jurists grant no breach Of justice as he lies in bed with plague; Next Arthur, throned on high in Avalon, Charges his knights recite the Pentecostal Oath, each sword around his table drawn: To never kill or quarrel in a hostile Manner, to flee from treason, give the ladies Succor and rivals mercy—under pain of Hades. This oath is taken up by Charlemagne And mouthed by Roland, that great paladin; The Lionheart, to honor his domain, Embraces chivalry and Saladin; His brother, John the Dog, signs Magna Carta In front of all the English noblemen; Then last, in contrast to laconic Sparta, A queen in armor puts a global spin On verbal virtues when, the Spanish drowned, This Gloriana gathers bays to see bards crowned. . . Andrew Benson Brown has had poems and reviews published in a few journals. His epic-in-progress, Legends of Liberty, will chronicle the major events of the American Revolution if he lives to complete it. Though he writes history articles for American Essence magazine, he lists his primary occupation on official forms as ‘poet.’ He is, in other words, a vagabond.