R. Joseph Hoffmann


Baneen


Let's see if she knows this shape:
It is not death, though death is faceless
and sits in the desert places
sullen on the bleached sand like a shell.
No, this waiting is endless,
for her sons are dead at Karbala:
young lions dead
their bodies squandered in blood
while she strikes at heaven
with broken voice and breaking heart:
'Ya Hussain
Ya Hussain-
I loved you more than music,
more than the sound of the plucked zither
and amphoras of cooling water
the sweetness of dates on my tongue
- more, yes, than my sons' lives-
and now I am a crier of pain
I am a crier at Madinah
I am a crier at Karbala
Until now we sang the songs
the prophets taught us.
But now we chant
Ya Hussain,
Hussain....

Submitted: Monday, November 18, 2013
Edited: Tuesday, November 19, 2013

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