Fragrance of the Found

by Aqeela Naqvi

“O God, what did find who lost you?

And what did he lose who found you?”

-Hussain ibn Ali (s)

I’ve heard whispered tales of a flower in a slumbering wood

Whose tears did fall when the world’s weight it understood

Drowning in the haze of fairytales, countless once upon a times

Of knights bright in shining armor, women with beauty refined

Too weakened by shadows, roots shaken by each passerby

So it learned to prick hands that either crushed, or at its beauty did sigh

Its strength tested, soon took its bent stem as a sign of defeat

Was told once its petals would fall, would turn man into beast

Lost and confused, turned for answers to a wise, olden oak

Who with weary eyes, understood, and of the world then it spoke

○ • ○

“You lament and wail that hearts of men, ancient flowers, are weak

Forget that angels have knelt in wonder, humbled by the strength of its beat

You lay your head low in hopelessness that all you’re made for is decay

Forget that the sun loved most the rose that stood two bow’s lengths away

You weep and mourn at your condition, sighing with every falling leaf

Forget that your existence itself is a manifestation of belief

You find your guideposts in souls who of themselves are unsure,

You forget footsteps of lions by day, by night, keepers of the poor

Your roots have become weak for to this question you’ve become blind:

“What does he lose who finds God;

who loses God, what does he find?”

○ • ○

“You speak to me in wonder of men who could move mountains with a look

But I speak of men who lay eyes closed, yet still the mountains, they shook

You dream of titans in armor, strength displayed in the depth of their step

But I dream of lovers shielding beloved, strength beating in their chests

You have loved corpses of the earth who linger, yet soon from you do depart

But I have loved spirits, buried not in soil, but in budding roots of my heart

I am entranced by these dead who still live, over me they hold sway

Pain renders me breathless when their bodies in front of me lay

I am torn to pieces, but they say, soothing the wounds of my mind:

“What did he lose who found God;

who lost God, what did he find?”

○ • ○

“You hear a river tell of a body broken, see a youngest child’s grave

But I hear a sky praise a shining moon, see the oldest definition of brave

You see a mother kneeling down, grieving the loss of four of her sons,

I see a woman praising the womb that carried the protectors of one

You see chains and shackles and prisoners marching down city streets

But I see crushed flower fragrance revolutions, gently planting seeds

I know this story like old wounds wrapped around my soul

Of a son who gave his heart so his father’s might stay whole

A story I wish I’d lived, last breaths whispered with his hand in mine:

“What did he lose who found God;

who lost God, what did he find?”

○ • ○

When they tell you your life is naught but breath in the passing wind

That your history holds no beauty—show them from your end, you begin

Tell them your soil cradles seeds that when planted in blackened hearts

Are embraced by the sun’s touch, and at once from them darkness departs

That budded mouths that seem muted, blossom with sweet melodies

And hum heartbreaking tunes of a trampled garden’s tragedies

Tunes of beautiful flowers that once lived, looked on all with soft eyes

Gentle lions that in death are immortal, souls to heaven, they rise

But upon passing, broken petals have left a trail, a fluttering scent

Of minds empowered by love, of hearts that to the brim are content

There are gardens, but few roses, and the few that are found

Were long ago buried, abused, crushed deep into the ground

But called true Roses for having rose, risen after every demise

Lost everything but their God, so everything did they find

○ • ○

I’ve heard of a legion of flowers in an awakening wood

Who on this night blossomed, the world’s weight they understood

Not drowning, but embracing tales of a Mercy to mankind

Of Knights in shining arrows, Women with excellence of mind

They’re led by twelve Suns that erase shadows, roots to a heavenly tree

Who do not prick, but leave fragrances in hands of harsh enemies

Their strength tested but they take bent stems as lover’s prostrations

Know now that when petals will fall, will come man’s elevation

They call: “Let them test our strength, whether with bulldozer or hand

Slings and arrows aim to crush, blind hearts will never understand

That you can fall our petals, break our stems, pull our roots out high

But you’ll never be able to erase our fragrance, its path into the sky.”