Poems - Poetry

Poem 16 - Abid ibn al-Abras

Poem 16 - Abid ibn al-Abras

(1) Whose are the abodes in the gravelly plain of Bauhan? worn are they - the destroying hand of time has changed them.
(2) I stayed therein my camel that I might ask of the traces, and as I turned away, mine eyes gushed forth with tears -
(3) A copious stream, as though on a sudden burst from my lids a shower of rain, such as falls unawares from a winter cloud.
(4) I thought how had dwelt there my kin, the best of all men not kingly to the famine-stricken, the wretched, and the captive in sorest need,
(5) And goodly gamers over the slaughtered camel, what time the wintry wind was blowing, and the strangers were gathered in.
(6) But when spear-play was the business that they had in hand, then dyed they deep in blood the upper third of their shafts;
(7) And when it was time for the smiting of swords, behold them then like lions that bend above their whelps and repel the foe;
(8) And when men shouted - - "Down to the foot-fight!" then did they do on the mail-coats ample, that fall in folds as far as the knees.
(9) Now I remain - - they are gone: and I too must pass away: change upon change - - that is life, and colour to colour succeeds!
(10) God knows how they came to their end - - I know not: all that is left for me is remembrance of things lost when and where, He knows!

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