Saturday, 14 May 2016

A Face To Face Encounter With A Lion - Al-Mutanabbi

Behold a rosy lion! when seeking out a lake to drink
His roar resounds as far as the Euphrates and the Nile River
Heavily stained with the blood of his quarries
Attired in the thick hair of his luxurious mane
He seems surrounded by a dense forest
Whenever looking straight into his eyes
One fancies beholding a campfire
In the dark, at night
A lover of seclusion, like reclusive monastic hermits
With the exception of his lack of discrimination
Between what's lawful and what law forbids
In a haughty manner, he treads the ground softly
As if he were a physician, gently feeling a patient's pulse
And he curves his tail all the way back
To the uppermost part of his body
Creating thereby a crown for his head
Nonetheless, he is unmindful of his diadem
As indicated by his indignant roars
His fear-inspiring appearance
compellingly shortened the distance
As if the steed, mounted by the armored knight
Was shackled, unable to freely move
Presently, he let go of his hunted prey
Moved away from it
While you so closed in on him
An advancement he deemed an intrusion by you
You were both alike in pressing on forward
However, a striking dissimilarity
From each other, set you apart:
You generously prepare feasts
For others to indulge in
While he miserly and selfishly
Defends the meal at hand
A lion beholds his own image reflected in you:
A mighty frame and powerfully muscular limbs
You occupied a firm saddle
Securely fastened on the back of a delicately formed mare
Her uniqueness disdains being compared to any other
She grants her rider whatever timely benefits he desires
Her harness could never be fitted about her head
Without her implicit consent
Her neck perspires when you summon her
And when pulling her bridle in
She readily responds to your command
As if her rein fully slackened
He (the lion) went on pulling his body together
Compressing and reducing its size, until its breadth
Appeared to you as its length
He pounded the rocky ground with his chest
As if trying to penetrate deep below the earth's surface
He drew nigh, deceived by his eyes
Unaware of the grave prospect awaiting him
The noble, high-minded, disdain stooping down to trivialities
In his eyes, hefty gains are insignificant deemed
Disgrace is excruciatingly painful
He who abhors a stain on his honor
Is never afraid to bravely face his death
He rushed to meet you with an aggressive pounce
Had you not crashed with him head-on
He would have swiftly dashed past you, by a mile
His strength failed him as you severely dealt with him
So, instead, he sought victory
By surrendering to you, lying down
His fatal fate paralyzed his arms and neck
As if, when you faced him, he was bound hand and foot
A cousin of his heard his sad story
So, yesterday, he opted for safety
Running away from you in sheer fright
More bitter than fleeing from you
Is his humiliating flight
Being saved from being killed
Is not unlike being put to death
The destruction of the daring
Who is to prowess espoused
Is a lesson for him who seeks safety in flight

Al-Mutanabbi (915 - 965) Iraq
full name: Abu at-Tayyib Ahmad ibn al-Husayn al-Mutanabbi al-Kindi

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