Hafiz: Selected Poems from ‘The Gift’

While exploring Munich in April, I visited a secondhand English bookstore called the Readery. I managed to walk out with only three books (self-restraint), one them a poetry collection by a Sufi mystic named Hafiz. The last few days, I’ve been pouring over this delightful collection and snapping pictures of poems to text to my friends. There are so many good ones!—so I decided to share a few of my favorites here.

These poems were written during the 14th century in southern Iran and translated to English by Daniel Ladinsky. I don’t know a lot about the Sufi tradition, but it seems to emphasize God’s love more than other strains of Islam. I love these poems because they remind me of my Ignatian journey this year. I hope you will enjoy them too:

Friends Do Things Like This

Friends do things like this:

Tell which mat their house key is
Hidden under.

Hafiz, jump over, cut right through
All the small talk today:

Look beneath the right-hand corner
Of that Kirman behind
The barn

Where my sweet dog is usually
Sleeping
(Don’t worry, she won’t bite)

For you would not believe
The extraordinary view
Of God

From my bedroom
Window


The Seed Cracked Open

It used to be
That when I would wake in the morning
I could with confidence say,
“What am ‘I’ going to
Do?”

That was before the seed
Cracked open.

Now Hafiz is certain:

There are two of us housed
In this body,

Doing the shopping together in the market and
Tickling each other
While fixing the evening’s food.

Now when I awake
All the internal instruments play the same music:

“God, what love-mischief can ‘We’ do
For the world
Today?”


Love is the Funeral Pyre

Love is
The Funeral pyre
Where I have laid my living body.

All the false notions of myself
That once caused fear, pain

Have turned to ash
As I neared God.

What has risen
From the tangled web of thought and sinew

Now shines with jubilation
Through the eyes of angels

And screams from the guts of
Infinite existence
Itself.

Love is the funeral pyre
Where the heart must lay
It’s body.


Like Passionate Lips

There are
So many positions of Love:

Each curve on a branch,

The thousand different ways
Your eyes can embrace us,

The infinite shapes your
Mind can draw,

The spring
Orchestra of scents,

The currents of light combusing
Like passionate lips,

The revolution of Existence’s skirt
Whose folds contain other worlds,

Your every sigh that falls against
His inconceivable
Omnipresent
Body.


Mismatched Newlyweds

Like
A pair
Of mismatched newlyweds,
One of whom still feels very insecure,
I keep turning to God
Saying,
“Kiss
Me.”

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