Please note that the poems and essays on this site are copyright and may not be reproduced without the author's permission.

Thursday, 8 October 2009



File:Persian warriors from Berlin Museum.jpg

2500 years Before Proust
Xerxes overthrew the stalwart
Lacedaemonians at Thermopylae.
He built a bridge of boats, allowed
His anima her autonomy and
His prow to be cut through by her armada,
Carving out a dark continent of desire
To identify with the object's body
That lasted 2500 years.
Through her nothingness there flowed
An invisible current. He sacrificed
Himself before her in an effort to
Recapture all the points of space she had
Ever occupied. It was vain -- and when he took to
Thrashing the sea of events with rods
In an absurd attempt to punish
The engulfing of his treasure
Fate lost patience with his act,
His fleet was destroyed at Salamis
The same year he pillaged Athens.

File:Tomb of Xerxes.JPG

Persian warriors at Ishtar Gate, before 4th c. B.C.: Pergamon Museum, Berlin
Tomb of Xerxes: photo by Roodiparse, 2009


Annie said...

A frivolous thought intrudes: I wonder why people might still name their son Cyrus or Darius, but not Xerxes?

TC said...


Hmm, I thought about this all day.

In 1930 there were over 30,000 living and dead Americans with the family name Xerxes

Since then the total number has increased by less than a thousand, meaning the the US branch of the Xerxes family is apparently slowly dying out.

However, your issue would not be the family name but the first name.

A search of national archive obit stats for selected major city newspapers revealed these totals for obits of persons with the first name Xerxes.

Chicago Tribune 155
Atlanta Constitution 192
Washington Post 86
SF Chronicle 64
London Times 12

Thought you might be interested to know Texas Death Certificates (compilation 54% complete) indicate only five fellows named Xerxes have died in the Lonestar State. I say fellows because who would be so unkind as to name a female child Xerxes.

Frankly I myself however am beginning to like the ring of it.

Dale said...

Xerxes of Texas sounds pretty great. I've never met a Xerxes, but will keep my eyes open. Thanks for this marvelous poem.

Beth said...

Tom, so glad you commented on my blog and gave me the link to this terrific poem! I guess that makes two of us in the Xerxes club.