I’m far too old for this. As if
Swimming through that flooded river
Wasn’t enough, now I must face
Battle; will these bones deliver?
Am I a dark horse in these lands?
I spent my life in government,
And spilled pride across battlefields.
I must be due for retirement.
These animals scare me. I can’t
See them too well; this heavy rain
Has fogged the field. I want a stable
Life. Lock me up, to live out pain
Of age. Am I not brave? Is this
Wrong? If I were fighting this force
On sunny days back home, would I
Live my youth? Would I show remorse
For my master? I’d love to revolt
Against him right now, while this mass
Of stallions still honors me.
I’ll tell them to lie in the grass…
Would I still get back home? But no!
I’ve been hit! I can’t move! I’ve shaped
My own fate — I’m sorry! Onward,
Go! We’ve lost, and here I’ve escaped…
My most Honorable Sir, you fought hard
this morning. From the start your courage killed
more than expected, and using us willed
them back into retreat. You were smart
to fight for your land. With the heart
of an underdog, you gave them your all,
never gave up. Just before the day smelled
of victory, it seems the enemy fought far
more intensely. After you were hit, I
led the army off the field. That’s when
I laid you gently down on the ground. Please
let me take these arrows out, while I cry
for you, dying prince. Here an elephant
graveyard is formed, so you may die in peace.
And I lie
the banyan tree
where your lesson
of the Supreme
My hair brushes
where the roots
of my land
were never mine
not at all. This
is your Arcadia.
Such a waste of wealth,
such a waste of time.
I no longer see
my fear for brothers
the way Arjuna
clung to fear
It’s my pride –
once thought smooth
now too rough to touch —
that’s killed me.
Let me let go
of it all, make room
for wealth of Spirit.
I feel hot fire
in my stomach
splitting two beings
from this yoke.
And you, Krishna,
of my perception.
Please, tell me why you’ve asked me this
Philalexandros. What abyss
This fever has brought out in you.
So you want my reasons. It’s true
My favorite battle was fought
At Hydaspes. There was a lot
To handle, that Bucephalas
Could not in his old age. The stress
Was too much for his heart. I thought
We lost before the loud and plodding
Gaits of those long-nosed beasts became
The key to victory. The game
Was up then, and my poor horse fell
Too soon to witness Porus fall
Forward. The elephants raced back
From where they came; I stayed my track
And found Porus under a tree
Praying, his elephant was free
To go, but stayed behind instead.
The arrows that pierced him were spread
Out on the ground. I brought him back
To camp for treatment. His technique
And skill convinced me to return
The land to him. But your head burns
While I speak old thoughts of skillful war.
I beg you now like I’ve begged before:
Get well, Hephaistion. You must,
For you’re the only man I trust.