On the Rationing of Cataract Surgery for Pensioners
Justinian – the Devil’s favourite son
a voice that echoed round his palace said –
wished his best friend most loyal general dead.
Mere months before, the armies of the Hun
Had reached the suburbs of Byzantium
and been turned back by veterans and boys.
Saving great cities frequently annoys
a tyrant, who sits chewing on his thumb
while better men and women save the day.
He blinded Belisarius, spared his life,
took his possessions, made him kiss the knife
that took his eyes. Still bleeding, his face gray
from pain, the loyal warrior took his seat
on church steps, begged for pennies in the street.