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The Ruins of Rome

by TheRebel2007

Context: This poem takes place after the 546 AD Sack of Rome by the Ostrogoth King Totila, during Justinian's Wars that left Italy ravaged and destroyed. We are told by the historian Procopius, that not a single living soul inhabited the city after this sack and before Belisarius resettled Rome.


I stand alone in the Ruins of Rome,
Menacing the dark, searching for the lark,
Clambering up the Aurelian Walls,
Walking down the imperial halls,
Lying down on the ancient roads,
Sleeping in the gods’ abodes -
For Rome has been abandoned, and all of Rome is mine.

The city of Caesar and Cicero
Languishes lowly in the moonlight;
The baths of Commodus and Nero
Sleep silently in their own fright;
The statues of Augustus and Trajan,
Rot remotely out of sight -
For Rome has been abandoned, and all of Rome is mine.

O, the city once humbled by Visigoths and Vandals -
Now ruled over by a barefooted man, guided by a candle,
Scampering the sewers for food in the soot,
Howling like a hound in horror to put
Aside my mania, my magnificence, my madness
By writing it down on a piece of paper to confess
That the greatest city in history is down to just rubble.

Decrepit, derelict, deprived and starving,
The bard and the city have come down to carving
On the pavements with blood and mud
While the cries of the innocent flourish and flood
The hills and plains and rivers of Italia
While Belisarius prepares to attack Totila -
The innocent cry, can Romans not have peace?

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229 Reviews

Points: 9163
Reviews: 229

Tue Aug 01, 2023 6:04 pm
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foxmaster wrote a review...

Hello! Foxmaster here for a review! I have noticed this is in the green room, but it seems like the literary spotlight is all yours, so hopefully this can get out of the green room ;)

Well, I like the description to this, and the cover! I was expecting this to be like, dramatic, and description, full of people, and you surprised me. It sounds kind of like spooky and dark, but not too dark, more like it-was-invaded dark. The description to this I loved! You make a beautiful city sound run-down and sad, but the descriptons in section

Some of the sections (I dunno what to call poem paragrpahs) seemed pretty long, though, and I had trouble keeping up a bit. But, other than that, this was great!

This review courtesy of

TheRebel2007 says...

Thank you for the review!

foxmaster says...

of course!

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198 Reviews

Points: 14232
Reviews: 198

Sun Jul 30, 2023 6:55 pm
loveissourgrapes wrote a review...

Hello there! This is loveissourgrapes and I am here to review/comment on your poem. I see this is very famous and that it is in the literary spotlight but it does only have a review.

This poem reminds me of those poets in the old times, like the Renaissance. They would write about the ruins of their country or something. This poem also looks like a poem written in a little old English. The writing style also suits the topic. Some lines do not rhyme though. But you can see that it is still well-written. Not forced and not freestyled. This could be a project for school too.

Over all, this is very nice and well-written. I love to ponder over poems like this so yeah it is good. The cover art is nice too. Keep writing! Have a nice day/night!

P.S. I did not know that was you who wrote An Ode to Love. That was great too <33

TheRebel2007 says...

Thanks for the review!

loveissourgrapes says...

you're welcome!!

Random avatar

Points: 248
Reviews: 2

Sat Jul 29, 2023 7:15 am
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Dorkwingduck says...

Very nice! I'm not much of a poetry reader but this may get me into it. You'll have to excuse my lack of knowledge on the subject matter so that's why I'm leaving a comment instead of a review because in my eyes this work is already perfect. However, I do wish you the best on your endeavours and hope someone more experienced and keen-eyed can give you feedback you sought for!

Happy writing!

TheRebel2007 says...

Thank you so much for liking the poem!

Everything is a lot of things!
— Hank Green