On the battlefields of Asia,
Macedonian victories.
Six times more of the enemy—dead.
Across fields through valleys
red rivulets of blood
stain the landscape.
The wind breath blows
a sickly sweet
carrion smell,
and nature decays
broken bodies
back into the earth.

The name of the two-horned one,
enough to make a weak town submit
and a strong leader—run.
Bucephalus’[1] fray first victory—
vanquished veracity.
Bravery, generosity, clemency,
loyalty, strategy, a legacy.
Tactician magician.
Mystic militant,
honourable contradiction—
where did you begin?

Olympias’ uterus
saturated by a snake
in Philip’s bed.
Zeus’ sperm begat
a god’s embryo?
Mother love—
a high price to pay
for nine month’s womb rent.
The real godsend being
Aristotle as a tutor.
A four-year wisdom track,
a lifetime of correspondence.
Foundations were laid
in a moral mosaic
and an ethical pavement.
But Alexander did not like rhetoric,
he thought it confused the line
between right and wrong.
Aristotle warned his pupil—
only tyrants like flattery.
A monarch has certain duties towards his people.

At twenty, necessity propelled him to Thessaly.
Capability and a Delphic prophecy
of invincibility
would place him on the pages of history.
To another oracle,
westward at Siwah.
His question answered
with a secret so sacred
he would not reveal it.
Acknowledged by the priests
as Son of Ammon.
The holy message sustained him
through all the subsequent
quandaries of his brief life.

Punish the Persians!
Drive Darius into defeat.
Rape, pillage, and torture—
were not on his agenda.
There were revenge examples,
what conscience of massacre?
It was of his time.

Who was this exemplary
example of leadership?
A divine mission—maybe.
A quest for the immortal—perhaps.
To spread Hellenism—possibly.
To one’s subjects—harmony.
Identifying with his men—closely.
Outflanking the enemy—cleverly.
Tactics of war—brilliantly.
Treating the conquered—fairly.
Addressing the troops—eloquently.
Pothos[2] and arete[3]—definitely.
Being betrayed—inevitably.
Seeking heroic glory—no.
Seeing it in others—yes.
Alexander, whom Augustus called—Great!

At Opis he preached reconciliation.
Revolutionary ideas to form a nation.
Equality, harmony, and unity.
Concord not discord.
The differences in men
are not from their neighbourhood,
but whether they are bad or good.
His men were tired and war worn.
They disliked his Persian customs,
and his Asian wife.
He spoke of brotherhood and unity,
they murmured conflict and calamity.
His divine-driven move a reality,
they saw only anarchy.
Fate saw a turn.

At thirty-three the mirror image showed
an old man, his hair blanched.
He died on a fevered bed in Babylon,
neglecting the Chaldean caution.
His will withered by his companion’s death.
Hephaestion loved him for himself,
not because he was a king.
Soldiers died from disease.
No victory sacrifice.
No celebration games.
Hercules and Achilles forgotten.

Which seer could foretell
foresee and forewarn
that the calumny of Cassander
would suppress the feats of Alexander?
Destroy his dynasty
and see in the Diodochi[4],
feuds that were asinine
and quarrels internecine.

His vision was a mission
to reconcile all nations
in one brotherhood.
Ancient oral history
is still sung in Iran.
They say that Alexander
won the world,
but lost his soul.

[1] Alexander’s horse.  Bucephalus and Alexander always led the troops into battle.

[2] Pothos – a longing or yearning to penetrate the unknown and investigate the mysterious.

[3] Arete – excellence

[4] Diodochi – Alexander’s successors.