There is a panorama somehow unfolding before me
like a landscape painting on an infinite canvas
all of you look as little dots crowding and clustering
in armies of barely distinguishable colors
smoke is rising from cannonades, and here and there
blasts of dirt tinged with red blossom and fall back to the earth.
How can my vision widen when my eyes are closing?
There is stamping of horses hooves and the smell of moldy bread
the cold hits me as hard as a fist raised in anger
and my extremities shrivel up and turn black, Moscow burns behind-
these are my armies, they are fighting every battle
I have ever fought. They replay my wins and my loss
they showcase my brilliance and my sin.
This landscape changes with my breathing
each breath, shallower than the preceding one
darkens the scope, the edges burn away
and blue skies hanging over bright green fields
blur into haze
until my eyes gaze into Josephine’s.
What does all of the world, the allegiance of its peoples mean
without my empress, my queen standing by my side?
I will whisper my love for her into the ear of God
and He will bring her to me
for I too once ruled a world.