Alfred Nicol

Napoleon’s Sword: Alfred Nicol

 Napolean’s Sword

“The dead don’t know that they are dead… Napoleon is still waving his sword.”    Isaac Bashevis Singer

Fred and Ginger glide across the set.
Benny Goodman plays the clarinet.
Marilyn adores to be adored.
Hitchcock makes the scene in silhouette.
Napoleon is brandishing his sword.

Petrarch isn’t over Laura yet.
Nabokov is eyeing a nymphet.
Baudelaire complains of being bored.
Proust relives a past he can’t forget.
Napoleon is brandishing his sword.

Leibniz has the best view one could get.
Sartre crushes out a cigarette.
Neitzsche elevates the Overlord.
Pascal collects—or settles—on his bet.
Napoleon’s still brandishing his sword.



Alfred Nicol’s poems have appeared in Poetry, The New England Review, Dark Horse, Commonweal, The Formalist, The Hopkins Review, and The Best American Poetry 2018. His publications include Animal Psalms (Able Muse, 2016); Elegy for Everyone (Prospero’s World Press, 2009); Winter Light (The University of Evansville Press, 2004) winner of the Richard Wilbur Award); and Brief Accident of Light: Poems of Newburyport, a collaboration with Rhina P. Espaillat (Kelsay Books, 2019).