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Poem 11 - Abid ibn al-Abras


Poem 11 - Abid ibn al-Abras

(1) Still to see are the traces at ad-Dafm, and in the sand -slope of Dharwah, the sides of Uthal ;
(2) Al-Maraurat and as-Salnfah ' are empty, every valley and meadow, once full of people:
(3) The abode of a tribe whom past time has smitten - their dwellings show now like patterns on sword-sheaths
(4) Desolate all, save for ashes extinguish!, and leavings of rubbish and ridges of shelters,
(5) Shreds of tethering-ropes, and a trench round the tent-place, and lines plotted out, changed by long years lapse.
(6) Instead of their folk now ostriches dwell there, red-shanked, driving on the troops of their younglings,
(7) And gazelles, that stand like ewers of silver, bending downwards to tend their fawns by their side.
(8) This my wife, in her wrath she seeks to be rid of me: is it that she desires divorce, or is feigning?
(9) If thy mind be on feigning coyness, why didst thou jest not thus in time past, the nights long vanisht?
(10) Fair wast thou as an oryx then, I thy bondsman, drunk with love, trailing skirts, I sought thy bower.
(11) So now leave off thy frowning, live with me peaceably - hope remains for us yet, yet may we be happy.
(12) But if severance be thy desire, then what more needs it than to turn elsewhere the breasts of thy camels?
(13) She will have it that I am old and decrepid, reft of wealth, and my cousins too stingy to help me,
(14) Youth's lightness all soured, my hair gone hoary, not a fit mate for her, the young and mirthful.
(15) If she finds me now pale, youth's colour vanisht, greyness spread over brow and cheek and temple,
(16) Time was when I entered a tent to find there one slender of waist, soft of skin, a gazelle.
(17) Round her neck went my arms, and toward me she bent her, as the sandhill slopes down to the sands below it.
(18) Then said she - - "My soul be ransom for thy soul! all my wealth be a gift from me to thy people!
(19) Leave the censurers then, and get thee some wisdom: let not them weigh against me in thy affection,
(20) Or against all our life together, nor follow silly preachings intended to cause thee terror.
(21) Some there be of them niggards, and some mere paupers, others misers intent to grasp thy substance.
(22) Leave the herd then to fall to the share of Zaid's people, in Qutaibat be they or in Aural;
(23) They were not won in foray, nor did our war-steeds wear the points of their shoes in driving them homewards.
(24) how goodly is youth, the day of the black locks, when the camels step briskly under the harness!
(25) When the long-necked steeds, spare like arrows of shauhat, bear the warriprs, heavy with arms and armour!
(26) Oft of old did I fright herds of deer with a prancer like a young buck in swiftness, full of spirit,
(27) Not hump-nosed, nor wont to knock hocks together - no, his hoofs hammer mightily, quick are his changes;
(28) Foremost he of a thousand, bearing as burthen knight in armour and helm, comes home like a picture;
(29) Swift as straight-feathered shaft of shauhat his onset, shot with skill by an archer cunning in bow-craft,
(30) Cutting down deer and ostrich, reaving the camels of a herdsman who dwells far away from his people.
(31) Yea and time was I led the host on a war-mare, short of hair, good in hand, to wheel or to race:
(32) Me she shielded with throat, and I with my spear-play shielded her from the lances that men couched at us.
(33) Oft of old did I traverse deserts and sand-dunes, borne aloft on a camel noble and fleet,
(35) Great of frame, strong and swift, like a wild bull roaming, whom a night full of rain has pent in a valley:
(34) All her flesh I wore down with journeyings ceaseless: at the end of our travel she was lean as the new moon.
(36) Such was life when I loved it: all now is vanisht - all our lives thus sink into ashes and emptiness!



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