Poetry : Fragrance of the Found, Love Story and In Night, Rise Like Candles

calligraphy by Irfan Haider Mirza

Bismillah by Irfan Haider Mirza

Hear the Author recite Fragrance of the Found : 

Fragrance of the Found

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 a bow’s length 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.”

In Night, Rise Like Candles

The night is dark and you stand under a weeping moon. The face of grief is so harrowing, even the stars avert their faces. The wind begins to whistle hollow songs, and you feel the hair on your neck rise. You are alone, and you are afraid. Your breath grows shallow and your eyes frantically search for an escape from this darkness…when suddenly, in the distance, you see a glimmer of light. Your knees shake but you begin to run, your feet kicking up dust as your pace quickens. Your heart is pounding but something inside you knows – if you can reach that light, if only you can reach that light…

You get closer and suddenly the sands around you begin to twirl; there is a burning in your eyes but you continue to run, continue to stretch out your arm…if only you can grasp it! The dust clears for a moment and there! you see it and grab the end of a fiercely burning candle. As soon as you take hold, the night begins to screech in your ears, the wind whips violently around your face; you brace yourself, expecting to cringe, but to your surprise, the fear is gone. Your hold grows more firm on the candle and you feel its light seeping through your fingertips, its warmth calming the quivering of your heart; despite the darkness, despite the shadows, despite the depth of night, you find that you are no longer afraid…

Because the candle that glimmers in that pitch-black night wears the name of Hussain. And the light that seeps from its veins to yours fills you with the knowledge that even when it seems like all is lost, even when it seems like the world is overflowing with darkness—there is a force that exists that is able to rise above, is able to bring back the light…and that force, is you.

You have stood in an empty desert and shaken with fear, finding it hard to believe that you might be important, might possess a unique talent, might be needed. But in that darkness, you saw the bright figure of Hussain and, when you held his hand, your own hands realized their potential to change the world; when you saw the noble prints of his footsteps, your feet realized the heights to which they could carry you; when you saw the light of his candle, you understood the meaning of sacrifice, legacy, immortality—and understood that the truest heroes have never been made of the stuff of angels; they have always been flesh and blood;

they have always been YOU.

***

The night is dark and I stand under a weeping moon,
The wind begins to whistle a hollow song, an empty croon,

The face of grief is so harrowing even the stars avert their faces.
I am alone, but not afraid, I no longer fear the empty spaces.

My back was once bent, but now I stand tall my head towards the sky
Because darkness and evil became small and weak when I heard this cry:

“Is there anyone left to help me?” asks Hussain under a bloody sun
I hear in his voice the plea of all voiceless and towards them I run

Hearing his grief, I forget my own, and the fear slowly slips away
God give me strength, light up my soul, help me keep darkness at bay

The legacy of the heroes of Karbala cannot be erased by time’s swift hand
They are there for those who awaken their souls, who want to take a stand

They are the candle that flickers, a refuge for one lost in the darkest night
For those who say I am here, I want to be free, I want to walk in the light

When to this light I grab hold, agents of darkness screech on a desert plain
Because they know they can’t touch the one who names his hero as Hussain

Whenever I feel-  my lonely voice cannot kindle change that will last
Whenever I feel downhearted, I remember blazing heroes of the past

Who showed me that fewness of number has never determined defeat
Who sang—against thousands, the song of 72—a sound so utterly sweet

Whenever I feel like giving up, start to believe darkness will outweigh light
I remember victory will always side with those who stand for what is right

I remember the call still echoing for help, and the spark strikes in me anew
And so remembering Hussain, I rise, will you rise with me, too?

We have heard the snarl of injustice, heard the oppressed’s broken cries
But we have the legacy of Hussain, so with the banner of Justice, we rise

***

We have seen rising on desert plains, a most beautiful rising
so like the heroes of Karbala, we rise

We have seen the choice of thirst over drinking from tyrants
so like warriors thirsty for justice, we rise

We have seen young children laugh in the face of hardship
so like the youth of fearlessness, we rise

We have seen a man who lost all, still bow down to the One
so like gold tested by fire, we rise

We have seen the lion’s sister roar after the death of her brother
so like the unbreakable women, we rise

We have seen the eagle’s flight, breaking free of grim shackles
so like eagles, for freedom we rise

We have seen the candle’s light, its flicker in the darkness
so like candles for truth, we rise

A rose’s scent has risen,
the fragrance of the martyr
so like blossoming roses, we rise

A rose’s scent has risen,
the fragrance of the martyr
and so, like Hussain, we rise.

———————————

Aqeela Naqvi is a poet and a spoken and written word artiest. She holds a BA in English Literature and is currently pursuing a doctorate degree in optometry. If you would like to read more of her writing, you may visit her blog at www.aqeelanaqvi.wordpress.com.

 

The art work in this post was provided by Irfan Haider Mirza. Please follow his work here : Irfan Haider Mirza