On Rome

Aeneas Sylvius Piccolomini (Pius II)

Translated by Brett Foster


Entice me, Rome, to scrutinize your ruins,

in whose broken stones ancient glory shines.

But here your people chip venerable walls,

yielding pebbles. Unearthed, the marble falls.

Impious race, if thus you spend your years,

noble traces will not be witnessed here.

Brett Foster’s first book of poetry, The Garbage Eater, was published in 2011 by Triquarterly Books/Northwestern University Press, and a second, smaller collection, Fall Run Road, was awarded Finishing Line Press’s 2011 Open Chapbook Prize, and has just been released. His poems have appeared in Ascent, Books & Culture, Christianity & Literature, First Things, IMAGE, Literary Imagination, Poetry Daily, Raritan, Sewanee Theological Review, and Southwest Review, and in the anthology American Religious Poems (Library of America).