SETI ON THE FLANK
by Tom McMillen
The outlook wasn't hopeful for the Pharoah's troops that day -
The draw had been Seleucids, so there wasn't much to say.
They had elephants, and cataphracts, cheap levy and the like -
And he had copper javelins, while they had steel-tipped pike.
And he was stuck with chariots; while the enemy could ride.
Their horses all had armor and their chariots were scythed.
And Ramses eyed his generals, and hope did not run high -
He had the sort of Bozos that could make a great god cry.
For Amnon was a coward, and Khaneb was a fool,
The former liked to cut and run, the latter liked to drool.
But Ramses knew that should he win he'd have one man to thank -
For Seti, mighty Seti, was hurtling 'round the flank.
For Seti never missed the mark, when arrows he let fly,
And always saw the battle with a falcon's steady eye.
And Seti never wavered - his units knew no fear...
Yes, he'd put up even money now - with Seti in their rear!
With confident precision the enemy deployed,
Then sure to win, and firm of tread, set out across the void.
And Ramses scanned the eastern sky for telltale wisps of dust,
In hopeful expectation of the one man he could trust.
There was an ease in Seti's manner as he raised the dice on high,
A cold smile crossed his features as he let the ivory fly.
He barely raised an eyebrow as the score was plain to see -
Then calmly shrugged and turned away - the roll had come up "three"!
The army of Seleucus rolled, their plan revealed no flaws -
For nothing dared to stop them, nor even give them pause.
The levy and the pachyderms soon blew away the screen,
Dread pikemen closed on trembling spears, with nothing in between.
A snarl curled Seti's features as he strutted to his place -
His eyes flashed bright as lightning as the dice flew into space.
The breathless crowd in silence stood and waited for the score -
He dropped his head and stalked away, for fate had dealt a "four".
"Smash the dice! " the maddened gallery cried, "Just smash the dice to bits!"
And they would have smashed them too, had not Seti calmed their fits.
Then from ten thousand pikemen there arose a fearsome roar,
As they charged in on the spearmen with each unit twelve at four.
But Amnon passed his waver test - no, not once, but twice!
And gibbering, slobbering Khaneb blew the spots right off the dice!
And when the turn had ended, and when the dust had stilled -
There was Amnon cross the river, while Khaneb held the hill!
And now the whispers silence and stillness fills the land,
As Seti grabs the fateful cube, and lofts it in his hand -
And now the eyes are riveted, to watch his fist unfold -
And now the table trembles with the force of Seti's roll!!!
...Oh somewhere in the Eastern world the lotus blossom blooms;
And somewhere people laugh and sing, and gaily paint their tombs.
And somewhere children giggle, as they skitter to and fro...
But there is no joy in Egypt - mighty Seti didn't show.