A man born of such noble stock
Came riding into town
At the edge of Caesar's empire,
In desert-laden Libya
And children crowded round.
The sun beat down on brown-burned rocks
With blinding glare and keen.
The glare obscured the soldier's view
As regally he rode into
The town known as Silene.
A pale grey lizard sunned himself
Upon a stone nearby;
The sand kicked up and flies buzzed round
As proudly he passed by.
From sand-strewn steppes, from over dunes
And desert did he come
To seek this small embattled town
Girt round by sand and sun.
Entrusted by superiors
To seek this town he came,
For servants of great Caesar
Sought submission to his name.
But the machina of empire
And policies of Rome
Meant naught to these young girls and boys
Who laughed and leaped and made such noise
And marvelled at this soldier's poise,
A stranger in their home.
Nor children only came to see
From mudbrick doorways faces peered,
Young men grinned, women cheered,
In old men's faces fear appeared:
They knew a thing or three.
And a certain apprehension hung
In the dry air of the place,
Disguised behind the carefree air
And excitement in each face.
But soldier-like the man rode on
To one house in the square.
He'd been to towns like this before,
And prior knowledge told him sure
The chieftain would be there.
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