My Father, A Knight

I remember when you left the house,

you wore your knightly Corinthian helmet and bronze greaves,

you brought your round shield,

you wore a bronze breastplate

and mounted Bucephalus, whose white mane shined in the sunlight.

Then you left for Spain, for the glory of Rome.

You sent me letters from Spain,

where you told me about Scipio and his Roman honour,

about Cissa where Scipio captured Hanno on the Spanish plains,

about Ebro where Scipio conquered Himilco on our sea,

and about the monstrousness of the child-killing Carthaginians.

Monstrousness that could only be quelled by the taste of a Roman sword.

You told me that the Carthaginians had to be crushed for the glory of Rome.

They tell me that Hannibal is in Italy,

he has done the impossible and crossed the Alps,

he has crushed our armies at Lake Trasimene and Cannae,

he has killed my friend’s fathers so their rings litter the floor of the Senate,

he burns our fields,

he defiles Italy with his presence,

and our allies in Italy and Greece leave us for him.

So, he has offered us peace, but we fight on for the glory of Rome.

You have sent nothing for the past few months.

I know not whether you are alive or dead.

I know not the reason for your silence.

Please come back, please come to Rome.

For me.