[528] 48

YES, I turned back. The way was hard to travel

Over the stormy sea and desolate land;

The sea was harbourless—ashore, my palfrey

Sank fetlock-deep into the yielding sand.

I asked for food in every mart I traversed;

Food was there none, but hunger and despair.

Long days I passed seeking the Living Water;

Khizra I found—the fountain was not there.

Ere this I sought the company of sages;

Not theirs the helpful voice that soothes and cheers.

Like Jacob I was lonely, robbed of Joseph,

Left to the barren solace of my tears.

Yet I live on, branded by Love and tortured,

Racked with a pain I can no more disguise;

My tears and wails betray me and my guarded

Secret is patent in my streaming eyes.

My birth-star doomed me to a life of trouble,

Else why should heaven pursue me with its curse?

God’s rain of mercy elsewhere sheds its blessing,

But I unworthy slide from worse to worse.

At last, worn out, weary beyond endurance,

I seek an anodyne to ease my pain.

World-guardian Thou, Ahmad Apostle, hear me;

Wide is the world, but wider is thy reign.