Ode to Triumph Supreme (Alexander Dowie from his grave)


It’s been way more than a century

That defeat, my defeat, came in a cascade;

To lay bare before the whole wide world

My grand pretence and masquerade.

Elijah I am, and Messiah in one;

A cure for all; this flamboyant claim,

Had left enchanted across the world,

Some thousands of men, and many a dame.

In fame I grew, in wealth prospered;

In Illinois, I built a town,

Where men, and trees and birds and streams,

Would bow to me and worship my crown.

Each day a joy, every night a delight;

I thought my bliss was here to stay.

When one fine day, to my dismay,

An epistle arrived from a land far away.

The signatory, an Ahmad, had cautioned me,

That all my sham shall go in vain;

The Messiah, he claimed, was he not me,

And destined for me was shame and pain.

That piece of paper, I tore to shreds;

How dare a man on earth may say,

That gone are my days of glory and pomp,

I screamed, “My sway shall never sway!”

But as days went by, and time flew past,

My splendour began to melt away;

I lost all friends and confidants, 

As if my fate had gone astray.

While I lay dying in my despair,

There rose and shone the Indian Messiah;

His song had spread on land and sea, 

And echoed the Rockies and Himalaya.

Today I twist and turn in my grave

As the air of Zion is jubilant;

I hear, a son of Ahmad is here,

And crowds around him, exuberant.

What was my throne, is now his mosque;

Where I once reigned, is now his land.

So joyous is he, as his aptronym;

And so he must be, the occasion is grand.

God! Raise me once, from my rotting vault,

So I may stand before this man;

And cry, “O Ahmad, thou art great!

“All thine it is, my land and clan”.

With hand on heart, I swear, O Ahmad! 

I wish I could today redeem,

My pomp and pride, for pardon and grace

As yours it is, Triumph Supreme.

(English rendering of Asif Basit’s persona poem Dastan-e-Fath-e-Azeem)

Click here for original Urdu

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