Wednesday, July 20, 2016

A Baha’i Mother – a poem by Sydney Sprague

[This incident occurred in Zanjan, Persia, in the Days of the Blessed Beauty, Baha'u'llah]

Alone within she stood; the crowd without,
With horrid taunting jeer and mocking shout,
Were making out of death a ghastly feast,-
As human blood is banquet for the heart.

She knew, alas too well, who was their prey;
In one brief hour they had snatched away
From out her arms, her own, her well-beloved.

Ah, for this crime was Heaven itself not moved!
Why should her boy, a tree of strength and truth,
Be struck down in the beauty of his youth?

Why should the wicked triumph o'er the good,
The lamb be given to the wolves for food?

Yet often, he to her this warning gave:
"Know thou, man cannot soul and body save,—
My soul I give to God; if others lust
For Bahai blood, then bravely die I must."

The woman remembered; strength came to her heart;
"O God," she prayed, "grant unto me a part
Of this day's sacrifice to Thee.

I know that I, so weak, can little do to show
My love for Thee, yet willingly I give
My boy, my all; now grant me strength to live."

So from the altar of that mother's love,
Like incense, rose a martyr's soul above.

Just then the crowd drew near with hideous yell,
Threw something through the window; there it fell
Close to her feet.

She gazed at it in dread and saw, 
In shapeless mass, her loved one's head!

Then, by God's help, she took that head so dear,
A prayer breathed o'er it, kissed it with a tear—

And back to the blood-hounds hurled it in her might;

Even their base souls were troubled by that sight!

Triumphant rang her voice,—aye, from the rack,—
"That which to God we give, we take not back!"
- Sydney Sprague  (The Baha’i Bulletin, vol. 1, no. 5, January-February-March 1909)