Ashes Lie

Following is the message which the writer has tried to convey in this poem: Muslims have forgotten their true identity (Shaheen), are busy with infighting (plucking feathers in vain), look at Sahaba and Prophets as Shaheens (now an extinct creature) while the world (mountain) is awaiting their return to lead and guide. The wise among the enemies (head priest) know that the day we realize our true identity, it will be their end and hence they do all they can to prevent it. But destiny has to be fulfilled.

In the pitch darkness of dreadful cold night,
I groan, lying languidly, drenched in black sludge, shivering with fright;

My charred broken feathers have been burning since time out of mind,
I have resigned to the dark shackles, drowning me into the womb of the black rind;

Occasionally, the lightning strikes and I catch a faint glimpse of the silhouette of the legendary Shaheen standing imposingly on a high pedestal in the far horizon with its wings open wide,
Stimulating nostalgic reminiscences of these majestic birds who once soared high and perched on the mountain peaks to rule the countryside;

The cacophony of plangent cries of friends and relatives, sharing my death bed, is aggravating my pain,
They keep plucking from my ruined plumage to replenish their own. Alas! All in vain!

Gigantic vultures are hovering viciously over us, amidst morbid dark clouds,
Hurling black burning stones and raining dark viscous liquid, in tandem, to prepare our shrouds;

As I withdraw from the commotion around, I experience a warm feeling emerge within, intensifying as each moment passes by,
A deep longing for someone very close I suppose, who seems to be trying to tell me that the ashes lie;

A bead of tear escaped my moistened eyes and is resting on the hem,
Embraced as its own and escorted by a gust of wind to the heavens above, as I watch in the background of black horror – my tiny gem;

I raise my battered wings and spread them wide open to the pouring skies, to make an impassioned plea,
Mustering all my residual strength, I barely manage to whisper, “Rabbi”;

For the first time, I took cognizance of the extant behemoth, with its summit reaching the higher skies,
Yearning for its rightful resident, who never seems to answer its call, no matter how much it sighs;

O Iqbal! An apparently dormant instinct seems to be starting to manifest itself in me through an overwhelming urge,
Struggling against the shackles, I start flapping my ravaged wings, spattering around the black ash, refusing to submerge;

I did everything I can, now is Your turn!
I am ready to fulfil my destiny and get out of this sojourn;

In a mysterious turn of events, the groaning and pelting has abruptly stopped while the birds of prey stare at me aghast,
Thunder roars as the black rain intensifies, blowing the trumpet to announce that it is beginning at last;

Covered in my own ashes, I rise against my foretold fate, alive and free from any fear,
Last time I felt this way, I was in my mother’s arms while my father whispered the most beautiful words in my ear;

The head priest, disoriented and terrified, is hastily converging on me along with his flock while exhorting them, “They cannot know”,
I look at him conveying what he dreaded most through my triumphant eyes, as the final blob abandons my toe.

I know!