(An english ghazal)
The heroes lie on funeral pyres, awaiting a ritual severance by fire,
But none remain to scatter their ashes, no one to light the farewell fire.
The stench of decaying flesh stills the sandalwood notes,
Over this lonely battlefield the heavens weep tears of fire.
Crying is all that is left to do when virtue has departed,
And evil rears its head from the phoenix’s fire.
Evil wreaks not its havoc in a blazing spectacle,
It lives in the silence of cowards; in the absence of fire.
It lurks in the dark caverns of ignorant minds,
Thwarting illumination, chasing away lightning and fire.
Out of the scorched earth grow a new breed of men,
An unholy offspring sired in the womb of hell fire.
He kills in God’s name and his sins he washes away
By an ablution in the flames of sacrificial fire.
Cattle, forever in quest of pastures greener,
Deserter of comrades at the first sound of gun fire.
Apathy his only inheritance, his gift, his curse,
Not for this ignoble creature did Prometheus steal fire.
In this bleak land hope is a wretched refugee,
Wandering in hunger, in search of a stove fire.
A few good men splutter like dying embers.
Weep for the brave, for them in store is a trial by fire.
And yet the dead shriek to you from their graves,
‘Lost as the cause may be, light the fire!’