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Another Perspective

On Wanting to be President of the United States

It takes an ambitious ego to see oneself as President of the United States. It requires an ego that is eager for power, one that wants to make things happen in a grand manner. The sweet taste of success on a lower level intoxicates the ego and instills a yearning for more power.

To those for whom the desire for power burns most intensely, whose goals rival those of Icarus, I offer this poem. It is from a 1961 collection of Olav Hauge’s,* a Norwegian man of the soil. It is written to Li Po,** perhaps the greatest poet in Chinese history, but it is meant for all who aspire to be masters of the universe.

To Li Po

To rule in The Heavenly Empire
no doubt enticed you, Li Po.
Didn’t you have the whole world, the clouds and
the wind,
and blessedness in your intoxication?
Even greater, Li Po, is it
to rule one’s own heart.
* Olav Hauge, Leaf-Huts and Snow-Houses, Robin Fulton, trans., (London: Anvil Press Poetry Ltd.) 2003, 48.

** Li Po lived during the Tang Dynasty [8th century], which is considered by many scholars as the “golden age” of Chinese poetry. Li Po is esteemed for his ability to create exquisite imagery, rich language, allusions and cadence. His love of wine, coupled with his narcissistic tendencies, was his undoing. Legend has it that he was drunk, sitting in a boat, when he had the impulse to seize the moon’s reflection on the water. He drown.
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