there is a tale

by Aqeela Naqvi

there is a tale that aches the heart
whose telling tears its seams apart
a thousand years
of flowing tears
which call: ya Hussain

there was a band of noble few
who left behind all that they knew
to fight the fight
of dark and light
their chief, al-Hussain

of young and old their party made
both valiant men and women brave
with noble brows
this noble vow
til death! ya Hussain

with scorching days and bitter nights
the barren desert marked their plight
the wound struck first —
the children’s thirst
their cry, ya Hussain

the enemy in thousands came
crooked their cause, lowly their aim
blinded by greed
prepared their steeds
to kill… ya Hussain…

the river wept to see the scene
(salvation’s ark) (ruin’s ravine)
spilling of blood
a crimson flood
lapping, ya Hussain

when every friend and brother fell
came then the time for this farewell
a sister’s cry
pierced through the sky
my life, my Hussain…

in grief, one lion, head unbowed
army of wolves, trembled aloud
one man of God
facing such odds
no man, like Hussain

they came to butcher, came to maim
to end Islam, to kill Hussain
yet through your line
Islam survived
deen ast, ya Hussain

arrows were struck, your body bled
a sword was raised, severed your head
yet who lived on?
in hist’ry’s dawn?
your name, ya Hussain

yours is the tale that soothes the soul
that turns the broken spirit whole
no earthly pain
nor grief remain
with you, ya Hussain

and yours, the tale that heals the heart
whose telling is a saving art
for all my years
for you, my tears

Imam,

ya Hussain