Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Walking towards Hafez

For years my heart inquired of me 
                   Where Jamshid's sacred cup might be, 
And what was in its own possession 
                   It asked from strangers, constantly; 
Begging the pearl that's slipped its shell 
                   From lost souls wandering by the sea. 

Last night I took my troubles to 
                   The Magian sage whose keen eyes see 
A hundred answers in the wine 
                   Whose cup he, laughing, showed to me. 
I questioned him, "When was this cup 
                   That shows the world's reality 

Handed to you?" He said, "The day 
                   Heaven's vault of lapis lazuli 
Was raised, and marvelous things took place 
                   By Intellect's divine decree, 
And Moses' miracles were made 
                   And Sameri's apostasy." 

He added then, "That friend they hanged   
                   High on the looming gallows tree— 
His sin was that he spoke of things 
                   Which should be pondered secretly, 
The page of truth his heart enclosed 
                   Was annotated publicly. 

But if the Holy Ghost once more 
                   Should lend his aid to us we'd see 
Others perform what Jesus did— 
                   Since in his heartsick anguish he 
Was unaware that God was there 
                   And called His name out ceaselessly." 

I asked him next, "And beauties' curls 
                   That tumble down so sinuously, 
What is their meaning? Whence do they come?" 
                   "Hafez," the sage replied to me, 
"It's your distracted, lovelorn heart 
                   That asks these questions constantly."

Translated by Dick Davis
Source: http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poetrymagazine/poem/181369

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