Poetry Tuesday: Lament for Five Sons Lost in a Plague

Abu Dhu’ayb Al-Hudhali (d. 649)

Run down by fate’s spite
My body hangs, a mantle on a broom;

With wealth enough to ease all pain
I turn at night from back to belly
Side after side after side.

Who puts pebbles on my couch when my sons died?

I tried but could not shield
Them well enough from fate
Whose talon grip
Turns amulet to toy.

Thorns tear out my eyes. I lie,
a flagstone at the feet of Time
All man wear me down
But even those my pain delights
Envy that I cannot cringe
At fortune’s spite.


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