Lost Army of Cambyses

There once was a shepherd boy named Magid
Who lived in the mountains of Iran.
But Magid did not want to raise sheep.
He wanted to lead armies in battle.
I will, he said.

Cyrus the Great became the king of the Persian Empire
His armies defeated the Medes, Babylonians and Lydians.
But King Cyrus wanted more.
He wanted to rule the known world.
I will, he said.

The great King and his army were destroyed
On the Russian steppes.
His son Cambyses wanted to be
Greater than his father.
I must, he said.

King Cambyses lead his army
Into Egypt and defeated the Egyptians.
But the priests at Siwa
Refused to call him Pharaoh,
They will, he said.

King Cambyses ordered Majid
To lead an army of 50,000
To capture Siwa
And humble the priests.
I will, he said.

Majid and his army marched
Seven days across the wasteland
To Oasis, the last outpost before Siwa.
His veteran army prepared
For a march across the desert.

The Bedouin guides urged
Majid to turn back before
It was too late.
When he refused, the guides disappeared.
We cannot, he said.

At noon a great sand storm struck
While the army took their meal.
The army of 50,000 men
Vanished beneath the sand,
Never to be seen again.

Mark Kodama is a trial attorney and former newspaper reporter who lives in Washington, D.C. His short stories and poems have been published in anthologies, newspapers, journals, magazines and on-line blogs. Read other articles by Mark.