Nicholas Michell

Far down in Nubia’s waste gray temples stand,    
Tottering with age, each doorway choked with sand;    
And further on, in groups against the sky,    
Long lines of pyramids ascend on high,    
By all forsaken, save by beasts of prey,            
And that dark bird, a god in ancient day,    
Whose voice still sounds, as shadowy twilight falls,    
Like a ghost’s wail along those lonely walls.    
And here stood Ethiop’s city, once arrayed    
In power and pomp, that sun-bright Afric swayed;            
Here Ammon first bade listening nations quail,    
And Isis wore her dim mysterious veil—    
Home of young Learning! cradle of each art!    
Where keen Discovery traced her mazy chart,—    
Land, far and wide, that sent adventurers forth,            
Peopled the South, refined the savage North,    
Launched her bold pilots o’er the Indian wave,    
And placed her gods in many a temple cave.    
[Extract from Ruins of Many Lands]


Meroë, in the Sudan, was an ancient kingdom which dominated Nubia and the lands to the south. There are more than 200 pyramids in the area, scattered around the desert. It is now a UNESCO world heritage site.

Poetry Atlas has also mapped other poems about Pyramids in Cairo and Rome.

Main Location:

Pyramids of Meroe, Sudan

The Pyramids of Meroe in the Nubian Desert, Sudan