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The Winged Sounds Of Liberty!

by Ali Tal

 

-1-

So vanished those delightful images of rainbows that

stretched across the sweep of Time; not a wrack of all

those pageant scenes remained, not a flake of soil for

a seed to crack and sprout in. From within the womb

of that daedal earth, annually, the living spring of

our eternal hope resumed. Year after year Baal gave

and rekindled Love within an old and dignified,

earthly existence, that did allow the flowers to come

to bloom. The shouting combatants' triumphant return

oft had passed the common experience of the children

of simple times, and, whilst Peace held His breath,

voluntarily and with devotion we rose to saddle our

steeds, then joyfully to the frontiers' battered posts

charged with speed, to quell the bogeymen.

Delirious with the trueness of our faith, a thousand

years, blending with the colour of night, we bid

farewell to the Light, and were glad to be on our

knees in dirt, feeding on the slime of pious

oppression. Living in caverns of the past, in awe of

our righteous potentates we shuddered; nought wakened

our sedated existence or our wont disturbed. Half

seeing in the darkening twilight, from the loftiest

fashion of our poise upon the Nature of Heaven we

pontificated. Happily roaming astray that desolation,

draped with godliness, worshipping things that were,

suddenly, the menacing trumpets of war screeched long

and deep with forbidding sounds.

Alas! The last of our joys was trampled; a vision of

despair rose, a breathless fear respired in rapid

ascending pants. An enveloping gloom wakened and we

saw the clouds of doom from every direction forth had

broken. Light was fading, a brooding darkness was

gathering fast; around, above and under, the deepening

dark air was rent and cloven, its denizens the chains

of their bondage has broken. Woe! That Earth of elder

times, where Zephyr ever came to drink their odorous

harmony, was by Malice's deadliest hatred scorched and

by our human blood sprayed. Riding the tempestuous

seas' crashing roars, vast fleets from such far-off

parts sailed, dropping anchor with booming plunge

along our shores until with usurping legions were

strewn. Big ships carrying stores, chattering joyous

thanks, faces burned up with visions unimagined. No

word of pain was spoken just the Lord is merciful and

kind for this manna fell to us from heaven.

Lo! By cruel Fate and wilful wrong our all was seized

by the scourging fire of man's ancient trade, launched

by those who proclaimed lineage to our Forebear. The

White Sea shallows swelled red, the flow awashed with

dying, men, women, children, wading the salty scarlet

brew. All were waste, dumped far to the sea, fish

meal, soaking slowly back into the ocean chain to feed

the future living. Travelling the skies amidst the

clouds in metal-birds, the harbingers of desolation

upwards, over our serene domain soared.

From black skies wrecking packs of frenzied wolves,

ravenous and ready, in fury came to devastate the

arable lands, causing the weak to suffer and starve.

Just broken from their chains, they sank their teeth

into our emaciated flesh, ripped us open one by one,

and then ran off with mouthfuls of our bony limbs.

Their concocted kinship to the gallant deeds of our

olden lineage made them with lethal venom fat -

forgetful of man's common ancestry, with fangs that

were sharper than a serpent's tooth, all they bit.

Lo! Their death machines thundering in fiery air, the

nefarious legions from every hill swiftly stormed,

calling upon their clannish god to vindicate murder

and crime. With brutal shears they ruined the crop,

tore the fields - in blind fury the spirits of their

fathers returned again and again to reclaim our own.

 

-2-

From the pale line of dusk to that of the dawn, from

either ends of their frozen domains, the marching

legions chanted the avarice Empire's strain, 'Behold!

We are the bands of the master breed, marching in our

smart, colourful uniforms. By the Capitol's sweet

love sanctified, nothing can stop our glorious onward

advance. We pass mountains, annulling walls, routing

rebels, praising the Empire with our last breath.'

Lashing brutalities and grim death, with such

barbarous force they struck such sorrow and such woe

too huge for mortals to afflict, seeking to prize

things false and vain.

Indignity and deadly hate entrenched their reign The

Mighty Solemn Ants built high, that, erelong, their

daedalian art flew to where Expectation never soared,

making man's supremacy upon Earth on Life a plague.

The intellect of their geniuses enjoined to serve the

Empire's brutal power, with savagery from worst

producing worse, until the spirit of the Beast

re-awaked. Their unnerving urge to bully and

terrorise stirred, various in shape - broad, narrow

and square - their newest devices of war were deeply,

in massive bunkers pitched; dissolution to Earth even

if an atom of this most precious stone was split.With

such rapaciousness they raised impious wars against

the World's pastoral folks who, in defiance, dared to

resist their gluttony for wealth and power; no puny

nation ever against such fiendish league prevailed.

Crushed by their won fetters, and their senses galled

by the smells of squalor, in the bonds of vassalage

the puny nations sank into the bottomless pit of

oppression to drink the dregs of its wretchedness,

helpless to stir a limb in temper; only their eyes,

with their silent, all consuming rage, dared to

flutter.

From the western wind, dark with rain, unrolled the

triumphant Empire's banners; red, white and blue

banderoles flaunted bold. The tidings from the

Capitol came that the Ants' young have to throw in

with the troop of soldiers going to subdue Ur's

rebellious land. Pitiable young men and women for the

glory of their church beneath the hardship of a

soldier's life had sunk. Inured to cap the pity of

their souls, they advanced jarring from between

clenched, tined teeth that our flesh were intent to

tear.

Thick swarming on the ground and in the air, the

Empire's grim legions hurtled headlong, flaming

bombshells with hideous ruin and combustion to where

our terror-stricken mothers our infant siblings had

stowed. With every savage cry they showed the

insatiate hatred they held against the scions of their

said kindred. Directing their loathsome weapons at our

defenceless homes; every time they justified their

bestial revenge with more relish than starved hyaenas,

chewing the meat and bones of a putrid carcass. The

blast of bombshells' rumble heard from behind the

remotest hills; the midnight dire lightning flames of

the big guns spread and their thunder quaked the earth

to its very core. The pounding artillery deluge with

lightning-flash spoke and thunderclap roared,

storming hamlet and farm; none was spared. All through

the charnel house were seen the grisly legions

trooping under the uplifted, sooty banners, rising in

the air its orient blue, waving direct, surrounded by

fires, that the populous rout we feared. Our men, once

the songbirds when the sun came out, were silent and

scattered on the plain and were forced to take the

bitter course of flight.

Tied up in the rope of Avarice that secured them

against the voice which had the power to rouse, down

the depths of their flaming pits the faceless Ants,

whose lot was all toil, slid in ones and ones down to

stare at the chase. Seized with a surge of joy so

fierce, they stood watching the destruction of life.

Greedy for richer food, in their hungry search to

savage pastures carelessly they strayed. Their high

pitched squeaks accused them of cowardice, of standing

frozen when they should act. What sort of ice cold

shades who would await to gather their shares from

such desperate fates? Their faces erased of zeal or

grief, their blunted nostrils could not smell the

corpses of the dead who could neither be touched nor

let alone. And though fully knowing that in their

names its was done, they never joined forces to tell

the Fanatic Priests: 'No, we can't take this any

longer. Soon it will be our turn!' The truly wretched

amongst them had nowhere to go. They just stood there,

looked up and asked the stars: 'Why are you keeping me

here?' Some of them did shine through the Empire's

grime, even twinkled, but quickly they seemed to loose

their shine.

 

-3-

The massacre and butchery that stained the waters of

the White Sea red had caused such proud fathers to

dispatch their sons. Bold and high, like the resound

which the streaked thundercloud roared, their portent

cries rose, foretelling the ugly fate they would

bequeath to their foolish foe. Lo and behold! With

their war song's peal the fields shook - Ur's braves

encountered all those evils unsubdued. Alas! Woe

mischance had brought - Oh how those merry men the

death-dirge resounded! In the thwarted land big tears

were shed - in ditches and in fields the Freedom

Fighters, whose young features wrinkled as they fell,

lay dead. Either with their heads up or their feet,

the martyrs sprawled out on comrades' bellies, or on

their backs; more were bent head to foot whither they

were killed. Oh! The pains and plagues that on our

heads came down; disease and famine, agony and fear,

that the brain would unsettle even to hear. Woe! In

city, hamlet or town such gruesome sights of great

carnage were seen; the dead spread out or heaped-up,

their corpses languished in clumps. Slow rolling on

the plain full many a sluggish oxen tugged

refugee-carts and wains. Thousands perished fleeing

the remorseless malevolence advance. Their groans

profound, bereaved mothers, widowed wives, orphaned

daughters and sons in horror lived those terrible

times that sealed their doom to face famine grim.

O what a scene of great agony that deep verdant gorge

displayed! Lo! The River, thick with pus and blood,

over its meandering course ceaselessly burst and

raved. Everywhither, along its luxuriant banks, the

bloated bodies of men floated past our frozen gaze -

as if in a trance, all of pleasant thoughts forlorn.

Our tears dried up despairing.

The weak in faith raised their shamed faces to god and

cried: 'O Allah we have lost all fear of you. We who

lived awed and in fear of sin loved intolerantly - it

was naught else but lies. Our simple hopes made us

forsake much more that even the pleasures of bed we

forgot.'

Turned out of our homes by fierce blasts and hellish

bombs, on hands and knees, like herds of abject souls,

dragged ourselves along waste fields, where blasts of

salvoes on blasts of salvoes of fusillades pounded.

Slowly, in silence we moved along, looking, listening

to the sobs of all those wounded who had no strength

to drag their mutilated limbs. Hearts sickening, in

the cold winds we sat weeping side by side, our

children starving in our view. Slaves of Tyranny that

fast was gathering around, we sank prone in the pits

of its darkness where desolation howled, more dread

than Abaddon. Some stretched out pale within the

grave; their sleep with strange dreaming crammed.

More, breathing despair, crouched in, all tightly

bunched up, rocking to left and right, the burial

grounds sat startled in the dark under their narrow

cries. Far more wandered in ceaseless circles,

wheeling around and around for their pain was greater,

unremittingly with its pangs assailed. Their chins

raised in that searching gesture of the blind, never

stopping they roamed the sands, their tongues loose

with plaintive howls, they shrieked and wailed.

 

-4-

Her mind raised by intense thoughtfulness, Fawzeah's

two starry hazel eyes glow in the joy of thought and

seem with their serene smiles to beckon that time as

she relates.....Twice I saw Ur by wrath and greed to

ruin brought down; once from the sky by the despotic

contempt of those who called themselves white men, and

once again by her own ambitious sons. When the

terrible blast of invading ships swept across the

heaving White Sea, cannonading villainous weapons, in

silent fear we stood to watch the glowing Doomsday's

fires appear. Upon the night sky like fierce glowing

meteors the whizzing projectiles streaked, erelong

they exploded with a terrible thud, scorching and

burning the groves and fields to bring death to the

land. The jet planes overhead, rumbling harmfully,

taunted amongst the hills, then, with merciless

force, sprayed all with bombshells. In chilled anguish

we witnessed the horrid crew afflict those lasting

pains; our gloomy thoughts whined: 'There scatter the

contagious fires. I wonder whom is killed!' The only

weapons we had ever known were pieces of our long past

to hurl at them across the waters that spumed.

Like chained dogs so firmly clamped, our mute leaders

on the floor crouched, butting each other with anger

beneath the lash. Bereft of the palest honour to

affront the Fanatic Priests' stateliness, the fear of

death alone found a place in their compliant hearts.

Without a tear and fancied scruples to haunt their

sleep, they just stood submissively there, waiting for

the doom to fall.

Possibly the dust of her Creed was so outworn that her

Truth turned grey, for all of Ur's joys suddenly

passed away. Her pastures were heaped with the corpses

of her defendants, who on her ancient pleasures their

dreams had gambolled. Like all nations reciting some

embroidered story of Heroes who were dead, on that

same time-cracked song we had swooned, chanting

eulogies of Ur's august history. Racked with deep

despair, hope never came but the ever-burning surge of

torture and calamity that seemed without end. In

dungeons of hate, horrible on all sides, we sat

inventing victories, glossing over defeat, yelling at

God to whom we bowed for making us so weak. Thence,

on suppliant knees we begged: 'O Allah! Teach us not

to yield; let the tale of our fury traverse the limits

of Destiny and stay there in swirl, blasting tempests

with whirlwinds. O Allah! Teach us the neighing pride

of the wild stallions. Never let us hackneyed colts

become. O Allah! Keep with us our elder's habit - to

bear upon our backs the airy dreams of immense hopes.'

When first we had seen the instruments of war we said:

'They have come once again in the world to bring us

death. O, woe is me! How mighty are our foes? How many

are those that in arms against us rise.' It was

recorded in starlight on the yellowing pages of the

Book of Time - 'And as the Al-Manat turns Her Wheel of

Fortune round and round, spinning calamities as She

pleases, the ungrateful fellaheen gladly will abandon

their ploughs and so shall go back from His Way to

ways of Sin, inventing equals to Allah. Enraged, the

Zenith will let grow a wonder, a metal-bird with wings

of infernal fires strung, that will shoot ruin

everywhither around the hub of man's orb.' For our

bad actions, this prophecy foretold that Ur would be

laid waste by that egotistically malignant race,

until, amidst the bitterness, no sweet thoughts would

bloom.

And I concur......This enemy, who always had the fame

of being blind to the universality of God, was an

envious race, proud and avaricious upon many deeds of

terrible uprightness weaned. In solemnity he asserted:

'We still have the Lord's purity and godliness in our

blood.' Correctly from the mouths of mystics on

pulpits and minbars I heard it said: 'We, the gallant

pride of the holy seed, Destiny reserves such honours

for us, for unremitting enemies shall be hungry to

devour our flesh. There shall come from the west a

lawless horde, with their bare hands sworn to unthread

our joints and crumble all our sinews. This array of

enemies will stay in Ur, planted with feet of flame.

Their fouler acts will make him a fitting king. In the

chasmal depths we have to face every blow, fighting

the ancestral war.'

And Fawzeah conforms..... So the mystics' prophecy

presaged: 'A forest of the barbarous sons from sylvan

depths immeasurable will pour down from the loins of

the frozen, populous north. They will come like a

deluge on the south and spread forthwith upon the

lands, roaming to seek their prey and thenceforth

freight the reign of Rahab. Their culture copulated

with many polities, and will go on mating with more,

until ancient civilization's day again will cleave the

gloom. From nation to nation men will arise to track

them down and reclaim their own.'

 

-5-

All was not lost - confounded by calamity and dismay,

with ignominy and shame underneath, the proud people

lay vanquished, rowelling in the fiery waste. Mid the

darkness there was mingled many a cry, upward cast and

onward borne- Freedom! Hope! Death! Victory! As if

from the last wreck its setting was carted, a dream of

glory from visions of despair arose and on

honour-ablaze pinnacles stood, trampling to silence

the loud fears. Although by nature we inclined to

peace, fiercely our young were ruffled by the crimes

of the villainous hordes. O what Life! O what Power

was kindled and arose to encounter those awesome foes!

Lo! Day by day, defeat enlisted us to more wrath for

the thought of losing happiness of motherland. Round

and round our baleful eyes with mixed steadfast pride

and obdurate hate we threw.

When the last hope was trampled, the calm of the firm

earth for sudden shook. There was a pause like a

brief notion, not a sound was heard; darkness was

eddying by. Out of the tear-drenched land a rushing

of wind arose; a whirlwind raged on, blasting forth a

reddish hell. A mighty crash of rumbling thunder burst

along the trains of the far peaks. Upon their

tremulous mists a lightning flash deluged heavens with

fire. The birds that had withdrawn into the rock face

to bewail the land's dire fate, came forth to espy

what had come to pass; where the vast irresistible

darkness that had the heavens cloven, fair clouds

interwoven - the blazing star of the Orient was from

behind into the depths of Heaven flung.

The unconquerable will and the courage of the hubris

young never submitted or yielded - what else was there

to overcome? Whether upheld by strength or rue, the

dire event that with sad overthrow and foul defeat had

lost us home, and in terrible destruction had laid us

thus low, the mind and spirit remained and soon vigour

returned. Although all our glory was extinct, and the

unhappy state had swallowed us up in an endless

misery, the magi perorated that the eager hour was

nigh. A gleaming new Ur-Salim, as dawn-illumined

mountain stood, erelong would rise and out loud would

cry: 'Liberty!' Aloud, trampling silence with hopes,

they orated to inflame the breasts with self-control:

'O Allah! Return now, look down from Heaven. Behold us

with a frown. Be not silent now. Come, wake our

strength. Exalt our heads high. O God of Strength,

don't hold your peace now. Come, be seen to save us

by Your Might. O our Lord God we call upon your Names.

Return to us again that never shall we be outworn

from Your Grace divine. Pity us, hear our earnest

prayers. O Greater God how long will You our glory

have at your dreadful ire, at your rebuke and scorn?

How long will we be from Your aid forborne? O Allah!

Upon the man of Your right hand let Your good hand

lay; the man whom You strong for Yourself had made. O

Allah vouchsafe that Your face upon him shall shine.'

The awful ceremonies heralded with trumpets' sounds,

throughout the land solemn council forthwith gathered.

The bards and sages' words with an earth-awakening

blast prolifically thundered, piercing the crabbed

shroud of gloom: 'Awake! Awake, children of

Mother-Ur. Her trumpet of victory-sounds are piercing

throughout the lands that are drenched red with the

blood of a million martyrs. Hitherward, come all you

valiant youths. Restore Her memory. Come stern

knights. Give true pledge of honour; save the weak for

whom the just will give their life. Come great

renunciation of the defeat. Race in search of Truth.

Hunt the Ants through every city. Drive them back to

Hell, whence Envy had them unleashed.

O hallowed kindly home you are polity's morn! Here,

where the weary travellers had come and found solace

in your sweet soil. Hither, to this nest where

daylight falls; whensoever will come again the weak

and trampled! O fathers say to your sons: "Never let

the name of our Ur depart, engrave it deep in every

heart."

O Lord soon, very soon Ur's immortal banners will

ceaselessly flutter, and like the rising sun on the

desert east will shine Her immortal banners.'

Thenceforth word went round: 'It can't be postponed,

it must be now we take our stand and fight, to us this

parched earth is everywhere.' Worthies called every

tribe to arm a regiment; summoned by their peers

hundreds and thousands came that all accesses were

thronged.

 

-6-

Lo and behold! True in will and pure in thought, on

the winged sounds of valour the heroes of truth

forthwith form everywhither poured, ripping the shroud

of Destiny asunder, and, with fiery aim, against the

thrones of the capitulating despots waged holy war.

Insensibly disposed to acts of Love to the World, loud

rolled the young's chariot wheels, and, with heart and

soul, louder still their war cry roared.

Contemptuous, proud, set on revenge and spite,

thitherward they moved forth with staunch

steadfastness in pursuit of justice, to scourge the

vice and breach of trust in this or that quisling

tyrant, exposing all to the world in every

opportunity. Urged by a burning thirst for freedom,

with fervent breath the heroes with haughty poise from

self-exile came; in each heart a hell of a storm.

Holding Fear by the throat, the trophies of the

Hereafter they pursued as they ran to spread peace and

martyrdom, which they preyed should not be so slow to

come.

From the eastern floral pastures to the yonder western

rocky shores, and from the southern reaches of the

deserts to the furthermost northern ridgy slopes that

heaved to the sky, in gloomy splendour the cavorting

legions of that human living multitude marched. From

east to west, from south to north, the humbled land

sent forth her sons; like a fierce cloud, slow rolling

on the plains their ramshackle artillery cars.

Thousands on thousands of the valiant sons of Freedom

there were seen forming camps that settled Ur's

fermenting countryside, until all the land was brimful

with martial show - oh how proudly the yonder pennants

flapped at the masts!

Guided by faith and on matchless fortitude reared, a

huge procession passed - some bore pants, some had

thobes with beautiful caps. Breathing united force, on

the silent chariot of storm they advanced in view, a

horrid front of dreadful length, and, from behind

them, Wadd in dim eclipse disastrous twilight shed.

Their visages proud and in the stature of gods they

moved on in silence, lost to soft dreams of the glory

that they might win. Their course on the firm

brimstone filled all the plains, a multitude like

which never had passed Ur. A more stirring scene I had

never seen. Huge and slow, deep and impressive, a

flourish proud with thundering cries and drums

pounding to the skies, a military grandeur westward

marched to amass in the steep and bountiful lowlands

of the chasmal vale to plot the downfall of the deadly

intruders.

And instead of rage, deliberate valour firm and

unmoved with dread of death to fight and foul retreat.

Fast and stubborn rocks of capacious bosoms their

feared tridents unlocked the rebel tempests sending

aggressive foes sulking to the black caverns of the

stern Empire. Not like them forgetful of the grave,

with rapid steps the Freedom Fighters went beneath the

shade, doing without witness that which they were

capable of doing before the whole World. Wrapped in

the vision that 'all upon Earth was Good', their

youthful Spirits seemed beside them to stand vested in

bright thobes of enshrining light, as rejoiced the

sainted souls: 'O River of Life, whose invisible

course is the inaccessibly profound Fount of Zion,

whither do your mysterious waters tend? You give us

life. Whether from oozy caverns or the wandering

clouds that bring waters to your brooks with sounds,

do tell the Universe of everything where the source of

pure thoughts resides! Upon your flowers I wish my

bloody limbs to waste. Beside your grassy shore I

seek the joust of Mot.'

Like our storied heroes, godlike in shape and form,

under brows of dauntless courage and considerate

pride, with Fate in their hands the valorous

defendants uplifted through the gloom like the flame

to face bravely the aggression of infallible weapons.

And, to height of the noblest breed the giants of our

times, arming to the battle, with bare hands fell upon

the sticks and stones. Dark clouds would faint when

from their shiny faces a smile gleamed and painted

bright beams of self-esteem over the liberated

dominions.

When deed was done, all effort seemed forgot, the

brotherhood of bravery had no need but for long

patience and mild composure. Bedewed with a few drops

of sweat, they fed on neither land or money. Their

wisdom was Love, and Virtue sustained them. The names

of such guardians of honour and backers of probity to

the end of Time basked glorious, and in the human

minds for ever to the farthest limits of Earth the

source of these men of chaff's fearsomeness rang,

filling each nation with envy or with praise. The

passing of the untiring years never disciplined their

unwavering contemplations and their belief remained

straight, which made them above the ordinary. Giving

to grave thoughts they made most manifest the Empire's

deceit, baring to anyone who cared to read well the

invidiously logical beliefs of the Fanatical Priests.

Fawzeah's speech assuming holds commune with mine as

if that image all that is in her mind..... Ah me!

Yusuf, my dove, in force you were the iron scourge of

the foe's gory bands. As one roused by some joyous

madness, high above the towers of honour you climbed;

a beau sabreur, excelling human form, staring at

oppression's victims with pain ready to die, hounding

terror's reign. Obedient to the Light that within your

soul shone, like a child, sublime and impetuous, you

went down the gorge, laughing at Death. On the rapid

pinions of the plume of song, speeded thither, musing

with every herb and drooping bud: 'Your freedom soon

will come.'

**********************

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