A universe of space, infinite sands,
Unbroken line to mark off cloudless blue.
A shimmering heat that plucks the very life
Of withered thorns which strive and stretch out shoots
Groping in vain to take a hold on life.
The desert, mighty, void of hope, immense,
Disturbed from tortured sleep by sounds of war,
Her barren bosom throbs with life once more.
Across her brow come men and guns to wrest
From foemen’s grasp another sterile stretch.
And so the game is played on age-old sands.
Shades of the Caesars of a bygone-day,
Their might decayed, great triumphs turned to dust.
Soon, as with them, shall our deeds grow obscure,
Our victories unimportant, efforts vain
Defaced by time. Once more the desert reigns,
Our warfare but a phase, long, long forgot.
Signalman G. Harker
Taken from the anthology ‘Poems from the Desert – Verses by members of the Eighth Army’. Published by George G. Harrap & Co. Ltd.