translated from the Arabic by Reynold A. Nicholson
When night draws on, remembering keeps me wakeful
And hinders my rest with grief upon grief returning
For Ṣakhr. What a man was he on the day of battle,
When, snatching their chance, they swiftly exchange the spear-thrusts!
Ah, never of woe like this in the world of spirits
I heard, or of loss like mine in the heart of woman.
What Fortune might send, none stronger than he to bear it;
None better to meet the trouble with mind unshaken;
The kindest to help, wherever the need was sorest:
They all had of him a boon—wife, friend, and suitor.
O Ṣakhr! I will ne’er forget thee until in dying
part from my soul, and earth for my tomb is cloven.
The rise of the sun recalls to me Ṣakhr my brother,
And him I remember also at every sunset.
This poem is in the public domain. Published in Poem-a-Day on April 1, 2023, by the Academy of American Poets.