Monday, February 22, 2016

City of Poetry (Shiraz, Iran)


With last night’s wine still singing in my head, 
I sought the tavern at the break of day, 
Though half the world was still asleep in bed; 
The harp and flute were up and in full swing, 
And a most pleasant morning sound made they; 
Already was the wine-cup on the wing. 
‘Reason,’ said I, ‘’t is past the time to start, 
If you would reach your daily destination, 
The holy city of intoxication.’   
So did I pack him off, and he depart 
With a stout flask for fellow-traveller. 

Left to myself, the tavern-wench I spied, 
And sought to win her love by speaking fair; 
Alas! she turned upon me, scornful-eyed, 
And mocked my foolish hopes of winning her. 
Said she, her arching eyebrows like a bow: 
‘Thou mark for all the shafts of evil tongues! 
Thou shalt not round my middle clasp me so, 
Like my good girdle – not for all thy songs! – 
So long as thou in all created things 
Seest but thyself the centre and the end. 
Go spread thy dainty nets for other wings – 
Too high the Anca’s nest for thee, my friend.’ 

Then took I shelter from that stormy sea 
In the good ark of wine; yet, woe is me! 
Saki and comrade and minstrel all by turns, 
She is of maidens the compendium 
Who my poor heart in such a fashion spurns. 
Self, HAFIZ, self! That thou must overcome! 
Hearken the wisdom of the tavern-daughter! 
Vain little baggage – well, upon my word! 
Thou fairy figment made of clay and water, 
As busy with thy beauty as a bird. 

Translation by:RICHARD LE GALLIENNE
Source: http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poem/180839

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