**by Frederick Seidel**
I still lived, and sat there in the sun,
Too depressed to savor my melancholia.
I wore a cardboard crown. I held
A sceptre with a star on top.
I was on a hill, looking over at a mountain.
The sky was bald blue above.
Pine needles made
Something softer than a breast beneath the fits-all royal hose.
I was like an inmate at Charenton
Dully propped up on a throne outdoors, playing
"Fatigue of the Brave"—fatigue such as of a fireman holding
A still warm baby, waiting for the body bag.
In an age of revolutionary fire
And having to grow up. The king did not wish to—
Still declined to be beheaded at forty-three.
But that I was depressed,
I had diagnosed the depression thus:
Ambivalence at a standstill—
Party-favor crown, real-life guillotine.
I still lived. I sat there in the sun:
Just water and salt conducting a weak current
Between the scent of pine and the foot smell
Of weeds reeking in the hot sun.
The children’s party crown I wore
Dazzled my thinning hair like a halo.
The crown was crenellated like a castle wall.
A leper begged outside the wall.
In an upper gallery of the castle,
A young woman curtsied to the king and said: "Sire,
You are a beautiful day outside."
The king stuck his stick down her throat to shut her up.
Children, of all things bad, the best is to kill a king.
Next best: to kill yourself out of death.
Next best: to grovel and beg. I took for my own motto
I rot before I ripen.