Monday, July 05, 2004

* Joseph and His Brothers *

Ten starving brothers left their home to stand
In Joseph's presence, in a foreign land
And begged for some benevolent relief
.To ease the torments of their wretched grief
Now Joseph's face was veiled, he took a bowl
And struck it hard - a sound as if a soul
:cried out in misery was heard. He said
?Do you know what this means
.Each shook his head
Lord, no one in the world, search far and wide
Could give this noise a meaning

.They replied
Then Joseph said, It speaks to you; it says
You had a brother once, in former days
More precious than this bowl - he bore the name
Of Joseph; and it says that, to your shame
.His goodness overshadowed all of you

Once more he struck the bowl. It says you threw
This Joseph in a well, then stained his cloak
With wolf's blood; and it says the smeared rags broke
.Poor Jacob's heart

:He touched the bowl again
It says you brought your father needless pain
?And sold the lovely Joseph. Is this true
!May God bestow remorse to chasten you

These brothers who had come to beg for bread
:Stood speechless, faint with apprehensive dread
When they gave Joseph for the merchant's gold
It was themselves, and all the world, they sold
And when they threw their brother in that well
.They threw themselves in the abyss of hell
Whoever hears these words and cannot find
.How they apply to him is truly blind
There is no need to scrutinize my tale
It is your own; when thoughtlessly you fail
To render loyalty its proper due
?How can the light of friendship shine for you
But, till you're woken, sleep - too soon you'll see
Your shameful crimes, your infidelity
And when you stand a prisoner in that place
;They'll count them one by one before your face
There, when the bowl is struck, you too will find
.That fear dissolves your reason and your mind
You're like a lame ant struggling for its soul
Aimlessly sliding, caught inside this bowl
Blood fills it, but a voice beyond its rim
.Still calls to you - rise now and fly to Him

~ The conference of the Birds by Farid ud-din Attar ~

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