Two Poems from Hafez

Two Poems from Hafez

(born 14th C, Shiraz, Iran)

Before the merchandise and stalls, God’s perchancers advertise:
All of you half-alive on the Beloved’s streets – Listen!  It has been

a full week since Love dried up, evaporant to her own desire.  Now
watch for her quenching torch.  She’ll ripple down in claret and rose,

froth-crowned as if fire had just poured itself into glass.  Deprived by her
of insight and reason, you see how in sleep you might both drown and burn?

Bring the sour sweet that she is, and I’ll wake this soul, still sweeter, to drink.
If to infernal black she sank, even there my deepest part, with her, would sum.

That daughter is a nightwalker, bitterly tart, flushed as a drunk.  Yet, lacking her,
I’m unwhole.  Reader, from whatever gutter, lead her to that hushed hearth: my heart.


My sky grew green with holy nature, wider than vision.  Its newly sickle moon
made a flag.  Beneath, pondering that Day of Reaping, the field of me lay open.

I said: My fortune – you’ve been caught in slumber by the dawn!
The answer came: What is past ought not to be turned to doom.

In purity, relieved of flesh, like the very Messiah, each must rise
to yet higher skies, absorbed into the sun itself – that Sun one is.

Each night’s a thief, moon its vagrant accomplice: dark will murder
worldly powers, dissolve away the greatest kings, crown and girdle.

I tell sky: You boast of your adornments – yet I can’t trust what you do or give.
Down here, in Love’s harvest, moon’s halo buys a barleycorn, the Pleiades two.

An earlobe sags with rubies, gold: what good is that ring, if the ear
itself is dull to its counsel?  Hear this.  Youth is the shortest spring.

Beloved: evil balks at Your delectable mole.  Sky has moon and sun
as birthmarks – but, on beauty’s chessboard, Your black pawn wins.

Heart is a holy field, blessed by a sun that works for greenness.  I must trouble
myself to sow, in faith, in myself – or come, yellow-faced, to a yield of stubble.

Like the tambourine in this circle I’m in, ring within ring, my horizon
sits in Time.  Though beaten, I cannot leave; I must become the music.

Hypocrisy is an unclean flame, blackening religion’s plots – deceit is that slick
breeze, blowing it through.  What blame, Truth?  I must defrock Ego; move on.



Mario Petrucci


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