. The Reincarnations of Donald J. Trump after Andrew Benson Brown’s Legends of Liberty . I. 218 B.C. Above the mellow grass, cliff faces soar Like walls to house a huge primeval god. The pass into the valley is his door Through which a hundred thousand soldiers plod. Their war horns echo, ominous to ears Of villagers who stand as still as stone; At once they rush around and shout their fears Until they are resigned that they’re now owned By these invaders swarming through the Alps (In times of utter panic, full submission helps). “What are those things?” they ask in disbelief To see such massive creatures lumber in; It brings them fascination mixed with grief To see the tube snout, flap-ears, and strange grin That have been brought from Africa to strike At Rome’s Republic—crossing first at Spain Then trudging on a thousand-mile hike To clutch their foe and rain down epic pain. These awesome elephants with mounted archers, However, weren’t most prominent among the marchers. One stood out as the helmsmen steering all: Great Hannibal of Carthage, lean and sharp— A natural commander quick to call Out orders but not needlessly to carp. His ready eyes pierce many hundred miles To Rome, his looming goal and fated doom. His armies throng in morning light; he smiles To see the edelweiss are in full bloom. Some villagers in deference approach. He says, “Apologies, my friends, we must encroach.” . II. A.D. 1796 Though pale-faced locals do not smile back, Their mayor bows and offers up his sword; His glances look for signs of an attack But do not find them on this decked-out lord. He sees instead the face of confidence With flag and uniform: red, white, and blue. Serenely his new liege’s words commence: “I am a Marshal of the French and you By now must know the name Napoleon. He sends me here to find out just which side you’re on. “He gives to you your freedom from the past Corruption and injustices you’ve known. He told my men and me, don’t be a pest To you, respect your land and all you own; So if we plunder you, we would face death. This message shall be brought to all of Europe, Enlightening the world to our last breath. Your wealth and homes we will protect, not use up.” The locals chatter, thoroughly amazed, And eyes of younger ones look up tear-filled and glazed. The vast Republican army rests there well. Young men come close, inquire about enlisting; And many, one day, will to join the swell That forms across the continent, persisting To elevate an Emperor of all… That is until the wave sinks to oblivion, The waters never rising from their fall— The Waterloo that wrecks Napoleon. For now, though, feet march on in harmony To join another army soon in Tuscany. . III. August, 1943 At last, the marching stops. Then infantry And lines of tanks stream in past ghastly homes Eviscerated by artillery. Through empty window holes a spirit roams, Soon banished by the joyfulness that comes On soldiers’ faces flush with victory And glad to meet their allies, British chums, Upon a dusty city street in Sicily. There pointing where to go from on his tank Is General George Patton sporting a three-star rank. Reporters, soldiers, townsfolk gather round, Anticipating his remarks; and he, For his part, plans to perfectly astound Them with accounts of just how gallantly The U.S. Army has performed, and how It reached the city sooner than the Brits Did. But, awaiting someone, he for now Chats with the press who’ve come. His sharp eye flits From badge to badge and notices a Russian Reporter, tearing Patton from his glib discussion. The Russians, allies now against the Germans, Bring with them power from the East But also bring their godless party sermons That are no better than the Nazis’ beast. Within his mind’s eye, Patton sees what looms: A force bent on destroying human nature That fills one hundred million tear-stained tombs; A century of stinking lies that torture. He shakes it off, returning to the present, Addressing everyone with manner rough but pleasant: . IV. January 6, 2021 “The fake news media suppress the news. They have their own opinion, I have mine. We used to have a fight, express our views; That’s how it always worked and that worked fine. But now they’re more like communists, who won’t Report that hundreds of thousands gather here; Who all know there is something wrong and want Elections that are free of fraud and clear Of any hint that ballots were abused, Were harvested, were forged—egregiously misused.” Concluding his remarks, Don Trump calls for A peaceful fight to win the people’s trust By marching to the legislature’s door And simply asking for what’s fair and just; But little does he know that traps are laid: The Speaker of the House, the FBI, and certain generals have not yet played Their hands. They watch with eager eagle eye In hopes that riots will destroy this movement That sees a land made “great again” as an improvement. The driver tells him that it is not safe If they continue to the Capitol building As planned. The shackles of reality chafe As Trump now sees he’s trapped—the rage ungilding For just a moment, then it’s gone; he knows He is not in this for himself, nor for A single party. But he hears his foes Are laughing at his useless marching corps. The shadows cast by birds of prey above Fly ravenously round the nation’s turtle dove. . V. “Who is that?” he asks while looking out, Through trees, at evening’s blinding final ray— A silhouetted figure rides a route Just out of view, flanked by a vast array Of followers. A man of flesh or light? The one who lived in legends come at last? Who lifetime after lifetime slips from sight Into the misty future from the past? Who is it gathering his forces there, Existing less in form than in the troubled air? It is the one this soul has always followed, Who now retakes the high ground and who holds Within his one hand all that’s holy, hallowed, And heavenly, emitting beams of gold; Who holds within the other hand a scepter Unleashing crushing force from warrior angels Splitting to bloody shreds the Marxist specter While flying from ten thousand deadly angles. He has returned, the Emperor of Light, Who’s come to save us all, including this same knight. . . Evan Mantyk teaches literature and history in New York and is Editor of the Society of Classical Poets.