Posts tagged “poetry

Elegy for al-Hussain ibn ‘Alī on ‘Āshūrā’, 391 A.H

Posted on October 19, 2019

  HISTORICAL CONTEXT Who is Hussain and what happened on Ashura? What happened after the Tragedy of Karbala?   These are the campsites of al-Ghamim so call to them, And after long restraint shed lavish tears. If you owe the trace-signs a debt, now pay it; If you’ve ransomed your heart’s blood to the ruined abodes, redeem it now. O, has a band of riders looking down from its highlands Quenched yet their burning passion? [Look! There is] a drainage trench curving like a bow, Before which stand black-cheeked [women], heirs to its ashes, And the place where the tent-ropes were tied, the place where [once] the young braves sat— All the tribe’s firebrands are now extinguished except for them—, And the place where…

sweeter than honey

Posted on September 26, 2017

the meeting of swords, the clashing of souls brought by dawn after silence of night thousands who fight for darkness to prevail— small band, warriors of the light   the tenth of Muharram on Karbala’s sands a battle this morning has bloodily raged a few hours the length of centuries seems a grief by which young children are aged   from the first arrow released by the enemy Imam Hussain’s companions for him have bled while there is strength remaining in their bones not a drop of the Prophet’s blood will be shed   men continue to leave, bodies continue to return as a bloody scene in a weeping desert unfurls until finally none of these brave souls remain each companion valiantly departs from…

o eyes, shed your tears

Posted on September 22, 2017

O eyes shed your tears Muharram’s moon has turned in these days Hussain’s blood is spilled— the tents of Zaynab burned   O eyes shed your tears the caravan arrives soon will the sands redden with blood— the children’s gasping cries   O eyes shed your tears the bodies on the ground run upon by horses hooves— broken, in pieces found   O eyes shed your tears the son and father part the Prophet’s face enters the fray— yet spears still pierce his heart   O eyes shed your tears will not be quenched a thirst the neck of Hussain’s pure infant— an arrow reaches first   O eyes shed your tears to Furat Abbas goes Hussain sets out along his side— Hussain returns…

travelers in the night

Posted on October 16, 2015

I once met a man walking alone Where the path in the desert bends I asked him where he was headed— He said, “To visit an old friend.”   Our ways seemed to cross so I asked If I might join him by his side? He gestured the way and so off we set Two travelers in the night   As we walked we spoke of our songs The melodies written throughout our lives Miles passed in this way in dust under stars Until he stopped – “I have arrived.”   I looked around but all I could see Was desert, reaching out like sea But the man planted his cane and said, “This is where my friend will come to me.”   I…

our way through fire

Posted on May 31, 2015

millennia ago, when the world was a younger place in the heavens, a human being was created from clay a being of sinew and flesh and stardust and bone a being that would, in time, call this Earth its home.   the Lord said, ‘I will create a vicegerent on Earth.’ the angels replied, ‘what reason is there for this birth? will you place there one who would only shed blood? make mischief and pollute clear rivers with mud? who would fight hard and lie and from others steal? who would cry out and cheat and innocents kill? who You’ll make, yet heedless will be their praise while we celebrate and glorify your Holy Names?’   all of the angel’s concerns, God already knew…

fragrance of the found

Posted on July 16, 2013

“O God, what did find who lost you? And what did he lose who found you?” -Hussain ibn Ali (a)   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…

the believer’s lament

Posted on February 14, 2013

I stand at the edge of something vast. The push and the pull of centuries and the universe, a battle between light and dark rages across the fields of my soul.   “Steady your arms, men! Brace the line, men!” The clamor of shields, the cacophony of this vessel of steel marching forward into the stirring emptiness of the woods, ancient trees beckoning with their gnarled hands.   All light leaves as we move into the darkness. Deafening silence, the stillness of morning after snowfall. “Keep to the path men!”   The screech of a raven, a broken cry, a shrill wailing for love lost to shadows.