Photo: Walid Al Ibbi, Father of the Martyr-bride

– Mujeeb Jaihoon

One by one the Hoor welcomed one and all
To the world of good with not a pinch of foul

She sang to every visitor the melody of peace
And showed them wonders seen not even once

And then arrived a beautiful bride
With her bosom blood-stained

The hoor had not seen till then a beauty of her like
And the light on her face was icing on the cake

‘Had the Lord created Hoors out of clay
Or was my heavenly mind putting a play?’

Zealous of her beauty
Curious of her blood
She went closer to the Bride
For the clay-ling to confide

‘O the dazzling daughter of Eve
Wherefrom such beauty you weave?
Reveal the tale of the ruby on your robe
How a bride like you was in pain-rob’

Replied the Bride with pain and pride

I hail from the land of Queen Bilqis
Joy and peace where never cease
Deserts and mountains plenty
Wealth and comforts scanty

My kith and kin were simple folks
My home was made of stone blocks

That night fortune smiled
That night misery cried
That night dreams realized
That night nightmare razed

I have heard Lord has the habit
Keeping triumphs and trials apart
But do Harvest coincide with hurricane?
Do Spring of joy with the Winter of pain?

That night a prince came seeking my hand
My folks knew not how to their rejoice stand
My dreams were about to come true
With love upon love my heart was to bloom

Abi and Ummi shed tears of delight
Bright as day had become that night
My young ones at home danced
And my face with love blushed

That night I was the happiest of all
In Sa’ada was I the most gleeful girl

Yet that very night life lost to death
Dreams cried, nightmare laughed
Rose withered, Thorns bloomed
Cup smashed, wine spilled

From the skies rained the scourge
Shrieks were heard from all over streets
My folks got buried under stones
Blood was flowing from the rubble

Blinding dust
Deafening sounds
Schools shattered
Homes horrified

We let go our father orphaned
A witness for the tragedy we suffered
Even my sister aged one was unspared
For, she appeared not on their secure radars

Giving us no choice nor any chance
The airborne monster ravaged us all at once

The cause for this curse is to me unknown
The hands behind this man-made plague is hidden

We had no rockets in our hands
Nor any guns in our pockets
Our hearts had dreams
And homes had sweets

Those rouge regimes’ greed for power
Those arms dealers’ need for wealth
Those black gold traders with black hearts
Those unfaithful custodians of our creed

We had nothing to do with them all
Our homes and dreams were so small

I am now past the hell on earth
Their sins are now my pass to bliss
I am the unwed martyr bride from Yemen
I seek justice from Lord in the Heaven”

Notes

This poem, based on a report of the Human Rights Watch, is dedicated to the innocent civilians killed by the airstrikes in the Yemen conflict, especially in the Sa’ada province.

Hoor : The escorts of paradise, generally taken to be females

Bilqis : The Queen of Sheba from the times of Prophet Solomon

Abi and Ummi : Mother and Father (Arabic)

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June 07 2015 (Ramadan 20 1436)