The Donkeys of Rome

The fearsome Sulla, at Collina gate
Demands the power to rule the state
The senators, with trembling knees
Agree to his dictatorial pleas

But Sulla knows they can’t be trusted
Their loyalty must be tested
Hands them papyrus and stylos in hand
Demanding they write at his command

Their names go first, then others too
The ones who might oppose his coup
The senators write with quivering hands
Wishing they could escape his cruel demands

But Sulla knows their every thought
Their secrets are what he has sought
With inscriptions piled high and deep
He keeps them all under his keep

And as a prize for their compliance
He grants them donkeys, to their surprise
The senators ride their beasts in shame
As Sulla’s power continues to reign.

        © Dominik Alexander / 2023

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