Zama

Elephant

Hannibal’s Lament

The serried legions parted before my elephants,

the fools about me cavorted thinking we had won,

as eighty mighty pachyderms thundered off the plain

shredding my dreams in the African sun.

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Nothing can resist that mighty wall of flesh,

the Roman did not try and so the day was done.

Boldly they charged through the opening lines,

soldiers safe since elephants cannot turn.

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And so we settled to the business of the day

the close up bloody hacking of the host.

I grant that well the legions know this trade,

they did not rest until all to me was lost.

o

Every battle victorious, to lose is still my plight,

defeated by those who shirk, evade and cower,

our own leaders with no stomach left for war,

I had head, heart and guts for plenty more.

o

On the plains of Carthage the wind blows dry and hard,

bleaching the bones of armies now long gone.

Bitter hemlock, sweeter than Zama’s sands,

Rome!  Fear no more.  I am done.

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