Saturday, December 10, 2005
I was the sentry of Sardis.
Sardis, snug and smug and impregnable fortress, capital of Lydia,
Full of ladies and gentlemen strutting their finery in the markets,
Spending their coins with hardly a care. Who could touch them?
Let the invader try to find a route up the cliffs--he cannot!
I was on the wall, joking and skylarking with my mates,
And my helmet, knocked, bounced, tumbled, down and gone--
"there's a week's wages thrown" my buddy said--but no!
There it is--I see it!--I'll just go fetch it. Off I go,
Down the path that only the sentries know,
Not to be used in daylight but who's watching?
Who really cares? Just don't tell the sergeant (wink).
There it is, a little dinged but still serviceable.
Back on post, ready for inspection.
Ready for a drop of the grape after I get off this drudge.
The raid came after dark, right up the path
I took to grab my cover. Some spy or other
Saw me, must have guessed the trail was there,
Took the night watch by surprise, spears flew
And the enemy was there within our gates.
I woke to find a knife drawn at my throat,
Bound, chained, and thrown in this cell.
Farewell to all your finery, Sardis, your gold
And your laissez-faire. Someone is coming
With seven stars in his right hand.
If ever there is a next time for me
I will watch, and be ready, and keep my tunic spotless white
And my helmet on.