Stanza 145


Now after killing every male but one
(For in his tent, the Imam's ailing son
Had not been well enough to join the fight),
The caliph's soldiers overrun the site
To take Ali a prisoner and confine
The man in bonds, and make a concubine
Of every woman in the Imam's camp.
In heavy chains the hostages must tramp
For miles across the desert's burning sands
To satisfy the autocrat's demands
That justice should defer to his request
And evil triumph over the oppressed.
The Imam's headless corpse is left behind,
Defiled by men and horses to remind
The people that heroic sacrifice
Must be accepted as the fearsome price
Of standing up for faith and righteousness.
Emotions rise and fall as great distress
Flows over those who watch the passion play
That eulogizes this most holy day.