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24 January 2021 / 10. Jamaad-Ul-Akhar 1442

Poem by Mulla Asgharali M M Jaffer

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Fire Retires – A fiery tale of Woe


Air water and earth are my companions

You may even call them my bosom cronies

From birth, an oath did we take

Live we will, but for others sake


Class, color or creed would matter not

Was a promise, that could be broken not

But now it really is too much, far too much 

Ingratitude of society, none to match,


Warm the knuckles, in winter I do

Help cook a hot breakfast, I Do

Help cook lunch and Supper I do

Heat water for a bath I do


It is my nature to light up

By my very presence air clears up

Giving warmth and comfort my specialty

Cleaning up rubbish generated by society


Creation of Adam, began my misery

Iblis refused to prostrate, made me an accessory

“I am made of fire and Adam of clay

Said he, thus vainglory did he display  


When Iblis implicated me, did he consult me?

It was he who boasted, so why blame me

This is what vexes me. This idle talk

Is it fact or fiction, no one cares to ask me?


If Zoroastrians deified me, I am not to blame

T’was providence that granted me my flame

That they were dazzled by my light

Was but a limit of their mental might? 


Since then, intellectuals have been at play

To prove, I fire, am not superior to clay

A cardinal principle they have forgotten 

That clay and fire are but one Creator creation


As my flame lights over a lamp or a candle

Moths circumambulate me in a trance

They burn themselves in supreme sacrifice

Alas, the way man interprets this is not nice


Does man appreciate this love and care?

Moth’s spirit of sacrifice does he share.

No, No, He accuses me of murder

And Waxes lyrical about moth-slaughter


How long can I forebear the maligning?

Wherever I turn, nothing but criticizing

No mouth a loss for words of blaming

Surely there must be a limit or an ending


Why should I emerge, here and there?

Whenever called upon, ready to serve

Always yes, never no to all and sundry

How to please all, always my quandary.


Being of service is what I aspired for

Such ungratefulness I did not bargain for

Hardly did I sow to reap thus

Acts of mine to burden the heart thus


But a question that boggle the mind

Was it fire that caught on to mankind?

Or was it man himself who caught fire,

Is an issue, unresolved, what a conjecture?


Enough - Tell them not to look for me any more

For my spark amongst dry branches no more

Nor between sparkling flints no more

Nor at the tip of a matchstick anymore 


If Allah permitted, I would even disappear 

From the pits of hell for ever and ever

Do please excuse this lament

In the heat of the moment! 

Translated by Hasnain Walji from Gujarati original "Agni e Nivruti Lidhi" 

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