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  • 10/11/2005

The Poetry of Hafez


Poems on this page are translated by both

 Thomas Rain Crowe, from his book, Drunk on the Wine of the Beloved 

and selections from Daniel Ladinsky"s translations.

Hafez, a Sufi poet, expressed in poetry love for the divine, and the intoxicating oneness of union with it.  Hafez, along with many Sufi masters, uses wine as the symbol for love. The intoxication that results from both is why it is such a fitting comparison. Hafez spoke out about the hypocrisy and deceit that exists in society, and was more outspoken in pointing this out than many poets similar to him.


It seemed that love was an easy thing

All the Hemispheres
Like The Morning Breeze
Let Thought Become Your Beautiful Lover
I Have Learned So Much
School of Truth
Tired of Speaking Sweetly
We Might Have To Medicate You
A Potted Plant
No More Leaving

It seemed that love was an easy thing

It seemed that love was an easy thing

ARISE, oh Cup-bearer, rise! and bring

To lips that are thirsting the bowl they praise,

For it seemed that love was an easy thing,

But my feet have fallen on difficult ways.

I have prayed the wind o"er my heart to fling

The fragrance of musk in her hair that sleeps -

In the night of her hair - yet no fragrance stays

The tears of my heart"s blood my sad heart weeps.

Hear the Tavern-keeper who counsels you:

"With wine, with red wine your prayer carpet dye!"

There was never a traveler like him but knew

The ways of the road and the hostelry.

Where shall I rest, when the still night through,

Beyond thy gateway, oh Heart of my heart,

The bells of the camels lament and cry:

Bind up thy burden again and depart!"

The waves run high, night is clouded with fears,

And eddying whirlpools clash and roar;

How shall my drowning voice strike their ears

Whose light-freighted vessels have reached the shore?

I sought mine own; the unsparing years

Have brought me mine own, a dishonoured name.

What cloak shall cover my misery o"er

When each jesting mouth has rehearsed my shame!

Oh Hafiz, seeking an end to strife,

Hold fast in thy mind what the wise have writ:

"If at last thou attain the desire of thy life,

Cast the world aside, yea, abandon it!"

All the Hemispheres

Leave the familiar for a while.

Let your senses and bodies stretch out

Like a welcomed season

Onto the meadows and shores and hills.

Open up to the Roof.

Make a new water-mark on your excitement

And love.

Like a blooming night flower,

Bestow your vital fragrance of happiness

And giving

Upon our intimate assembly.

Change rooms in your mind for a day.

All the hemispheres in existence

Lie beside an equator

In your heart.

Greet Yourself

In your thousand other forms

As you mount the hidden tide and travel

Back home.

All the hemispheres in heaven

Are sitting around a fire


While stitching themselves together

Into the Great Circle inside of



From:  "The Subject Tonight is Love" Translated by Daniel Ladinsky

Like The Morning Breeze

Like the morning breeze, if you bring to the morning good deeds,

The rose of our desire will open and bloom.

Go forward, and make advances down this road of love;

In forward motion, the pain is great.

To beg at the door of the Winehouse is a wonderful alchemy.

If you practice this, soon you will be converting dust into gold.

O heart, if only once you experience the light of purity,

Like a laughing candle, you can abandon the life you live in your head.

But if you are still yearning for cheap wine and a beautiful face,

Don"t go out looking for an enlightened job.

Hafiz, if you are listening to this good advice,

The road of Love and its enrichment are right around the curve.

From: Drunk on the Wind of the Beloved

Translated by Thomas Rain Crowe

From the Large Jug, Drink

From the large jug, drink the wine of Unity,

So that from your heart you can wash away the futility of life"s grief.

But like this large jug, still keep the heart expansive.

Why would you want to keep the heart captive, like an unopened bottle

of wine?

With your mouth full of wine, you are selfless

And will never boast of your own abilities again.

Be like the humble stone at your feet rather than striving to be like a

Sublime cloud: the more you mix colors of deceit, the more colorless

your ragged wet coat will get.

Connect the heart to the wine, so that it has body,

Then cut off the neck of hypocrisy and piety of this new man.

Be like Hafiz: Get up and make an effort. Don"t lie around like a bum.

He who throws himself at the Beloved"s feet is like a workhorse and will

be rewarded with boundless pastures and eternal rest.


From: Drunk on the Wine of the Beloved

Translated by Thomas Rain Crowe


List of Poems:

All the Hemispheres

From The Large Jug, Drink

I Have Learned So Much

Let Thought Become Your Beautiful Lover

School ofTruth

Laughing At the Word Two

I Know the Way You Can Get

I"ve Said It Before and I"ll Say It Again

Tired of Speaking Sweetly

Like The Morning Breeze

We Might Have To Medicate You

A Potted Plant

No More Leaving


Let Thought Become Your Beautiful Lover

Let Thought Become Your Beautiful Lover

Let thought become the beautiful Woman.

Cultivate your mind and heart to that depth

That it can give you everything

A warm body can.

Why just keep making love with God"s child-- Form

When the Friend Himself is standing

Before us

So open-armed?

My dear,

Let prayer become your beautiful Lover

And become free,

Become free of this whole world

Like Hafiz.


From:  "The Gift" Translated by Daniel Ladinsky

I Have Learned So Much




So much from God

That I can no longer



A Christian, a Hindu, a Muslim,

a Buddhist, a Jew.

The Truth has shared so much of Itself

With me

That I can no longer call myself

A man, a woman, an angel,

Or even a pure


Love has

Befriended Hafiz so completely

It has turned to ash

And freed


Of every concept and image

my mind has ever known.


From:  "The Gift" Translated by Daniel Ladinsky

School of Truth

O fool, do something, so you won"t just stand there looking dumb.

If you are not traveling and on the road, how can you call yourself a guide?

In theSchool ofTruth, one sits at the feet of the Master of Love.

So listen, son, so that one day you may be an old father, too!

All this eating and sleeping has made you ignorant and fat;

By denying yourself food and sleep, you may still have a chance.

Know this: If God should shine His lovelight on your heart,

I promise you"ll shine brighter than a dozen suns.

And I say: wash the tarnished copper of your life from your hands;

To be Love"s alchemist, you should be working with gold.

Don"t sit there thinking; go out and immerse yourself in God"s sea.

Having only one hair wet with water will not put knowledge in that head.

For those who see only God, their vision

Is pure, and not a doubt remains.

Even if our world is turned upside down and blown over by the wind,

If you are doubtless, you won"t lose a thing.

O Hafiz, if it is union with the Beloved that you seek,

Be the dust at the Wise One"s door, and speak!

From: "Drunk On the Wind of the Beloved"

Translated by Thomas Rain Crowe

I"ve Said It Before and I"ll Say It Again

I"ve said it before and I"ll say it again:

It"s not my fault that with a broken heart, I"ve gone this way.

In front of a mirror they have put me like a parrot,

And behind the mirror the Teacher tells me what to say.

Whether I am perceived as a thorn or a rose, it"s

The Gardener who has fed and nourished me day to day.

O friends, don"t blame me for this broken heart;

Inside me there is a great jewel and it"s to the Jeweler"s shop I go.

Even though, to pious, drinking wine is a sin,

Don"t judge me; I use it as a bleach to wash the color of hypocrisy away.

All that laughing and weeping of lovers must be coming from some other place;

Here, all night I sing with my winecup and then moan for You all day.

If someone were to ask Hafiz, "Why do you spend all your time sitting in

The Winehouse door?," to this man I would say, "From there, standing,

I can see both the Path and the Way.


 From:  Drunk on the Wind of the Beloved Translated by Thomas Rain Crowe

Tired of Speaking Sweetly

Love wants to reach out and manhandle us,

Break all our teacup talk of God.

If you had the courage and

Could give the Beloved His choice, some nights,

He would just drag you around the room

By your hair,

Ripping from your grip all those toys in the world

That bring you no joy.

Love sometimes gets tired of speaking sweetly

And wants to rip to shreds

All your erroneous notions of truth

That make you fight within yourself, dear one,

And with others,

Causing the world to weep

On too many fine days.

God wants to manhandle us,

Lock us inside of a tiny room with Himself

And practice His dropkick.

The Beloved sometimes wants

To do us a great favor:

Hold us upside down

And shake all the nonsense out.

But when we hear

He is in such a "playful drunken mood"

Most everyone I know

Quickly packs their bags and hightails it

Out of town.


From:  "The Gift" Translated by Daniel Ladinsky

We Might Have To Medicate You

Resist your temptation to lie

By speaking of separation from God,


We might have to medicate


In the ocean

A lot goes on beneath your eyes.


They have clinics there too

For the insane

Who persist in saying things like:

"I am independent from the


God is not always around


Pressing against

My body."


From: "The Gift", Translated by Daniel Ladinsky

A Potted Plant

I pull a sun from my coin purse each day.

And at night I let my pet the moon

Run freely into the sky meadow.

If I whistled,

She would turn her head and look at me.

If I then waved my arms,

She would come back wagging a marvelous tail

Of stars.

There are always a few men like me

In this world

Who are house-sitting for God.

We share His royal duties:

I water each day a favorite potted plant

Of His--

This earth.

Ask the Friend for love.

Ask Him again.

For I have learned that every heart will get

What it prays for



From:  "The Subject Tonight Is Love" Translated by Daniel Ladinsky

No More Leaving


Some point

Your relationship

With God


Become like this:

Next time you meet Him in the forest

Or on a crowded city street

There won"t be anymore


That is,

God will climb into

Your pocket.

You will simply just take




From: "The Gift" Translated by Daniel Ladinsky

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