Odyssey of our time
O my Lord! My Allah! What station have you brought me to?
Are lay ahead a thousand tasks, that you alone can take me through.
What shall I do? I do not know
So I have trust in only You.
I raised my head from humble prayer
and opened my eyes to see my troops
All ready to march, all steady in stance,
All armed and alert, all set in groups.
I thanked my Lord, glanced proudly at them,
There were men of letters, and masters of speech;
Their passion, their zeal, as if on fire,
And nothing beyond their ardent reach.
Doctors and nurses, and fiery orators,
While many were trained as scientists;
Masons and builders, teachers and students,
And thousands of skills, on scrolls of lists.
I looked across, and left, and right,
When hidden away I saw a nook
Where stood a boy, all on his own,
But in his eyes, a strange, deep look
I took my troops, and started to march
My time was precious, I had to proceed,
I marched, I conquered, I won, I went on,
As my battlefield, was the whole world indeed.
But every halt, and every break,
Would bring flashbacks, of those bright eyes;
So loyal they were, that they shone with love,
And his wings were of a falcon, ready to rise.
It was as if he spoke, and I’d hear him say
“I might be too young, I may be too frail,
“But take me along, and let me fight,
You’ll see me endure, and I shall not fail.”
I would march on, my troops would follow,
We would progress, we would recruit,
And then one day, I saw a new face
Standing before me, with a firm salute
The boy had grown, he was now a man
His eyes were brighter, his wings full blown,
“Give me my sword,” he said, “and give me my armour,
I’m here my master! To lay flesh and bone.”
In the battle of morals, in a war for peace
To give him the best, I looked for a weapon;
The Holy Quran, being the best shield and sword
I handed it over, and let him step in.
He fought in my troops, but he was distinct
While all stayed ahead, he fought at the rear;
He rarely was seen, but a tactic it was
It was a crucial post, and he wanted to be there
He clung to me like armour, he stood by me on guard
Fighting by my side, but staying out of sight,
I’d only give a hint, and leap he would to obey
While guarding the centre, he’d fight left and right.
He cared for my future, my present, my past;
Collating every moment, he walked, he flew, he drove.
As through my past he treaded, he found some memories buried
But for him it was like, he’d found a treasure trove.
My long kept, bygone memories, he looked at each of them
He wept, and hugged and kissed them, as if he’d hit his goal.
To save them and protect them, he lay inside the trove;
And this is how we found him, his body, life and soul.
I knew you always loved me, you did not need to prove
But that how much I love you, if only you could know.
This trove is now a treasure, and ought to be laid to rest,
So it can always flourish, and love can ever grow.
My soldier! I must tell you, that you shall ever live!
I promise, O beloved! Your soul shall never die!
And never will you walk alone, as many more shall follow,
Your heart will keep on beating, your blood shall never dry!
To pay respects shall always come, the pious, the saints and sages,
And epics of eternal love, shall save you in their pages.
(An abridged English rendering of Shahnama-e-Shaheed by Asif M Basit)