[Amphitheatre in Leptis Magna, Libya. Photo by Capuozzo Pietro.
There have been others before thee, Conqueror,
Who compassed more than thy ambitions hold,
Held greater worlds in fee, and grasped more
And swifter swords than thine, with surer hold.
They were so great it seemed they lit the sun,
Their shadow it was that swept across the moon,
The stars their creatures were. To this poor world,
Their gaud and plaything, they as strangers came;
Were glorious awhile. Their flag was furled –
And none remembers now even their name.
Lance-corporal P.A.A. Thomas
Taken from the anthology ‘Poems from the Desert – Verses by members of the Eighth Army’. Published by George G. Harrap & Co. Ltd.