Rafed English

The Arena (The desert of Kerbala, Iraq)

A sweltering, simmering, broiling land

Igneous, sultry, arid sand.

No bramble (or thistle) it boasts

A crop of humpbacked dunes it hosts

A torrid, baking, seething place

Even delusion, cannot verdure trace.

Exhausted earth's infecund plot

Anhydrous, husky, soapless, spot.

Parched fragment of a barren world

A glowing meteor to the earth hurled.

No cheerless, forlorn cactus grows

Hellish, blustering simoom blows.

The blazing, fiery, flaming sun

An eerie desolation; the valiant shun.

A spooky silence, ominous hush

The wind escapes it, with a rush.

The terra firma appears ablaze

The earth stunned, in a languid daze.

A vision, on earth, of a virtual hell

A stretch of furnace, a fiery shell

The heatwave diffuses thermal haze

The fervid ether forbids the gaze.

The primeval sands primordial heat

With contempt does inferno treat

Behold a dauntless, valiant band

Stands, resolutely, on this land.

The Profit's grandson; with his group

A tranquil Guild, not a militant troop.

In this sombre, dreary terrain

They, their reverence did sustain.

Omar bin Sa'ad, the commander of the enemy's army came with 30,000 of troops. He made Amr bin al-Hajjaj az-Zubaidi the commander of the right flank of his army and Shimr bin Thil al-Jawshan the commander of the left flank. Izra bin Qais Al-Ahnasi was made the commander of the horsemen, Shibth bin Ribi'e took charge of the archers.

"Suddenly a deafening tumult I heard,

Thundering of myriad hooves, converged.

A tremor struck, the earth did shake,

My tranquillity disrupted, I was awake.

Loomed, ominously, a host of swords,

Rush, headlong, did furious hordes.

The glint of tinsel arms appeared,

As their coursers they spurred.

My waves, in terror, rushed, did flee

As their identity dawned on me.

Their sinister countenance, hideous looks,

Depicted a pack of depraved crooks.

Their obliquity; their visage betrayed,

A flash flood hit me (was dismayed)

Adapted from the book: "Tale of Hussain's Martyrdom" translated by: "Najim al-Khafaji"

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