Hafez- “Last night the wind brought…”

An interesting translation in rhyming verse…

Last night, the wind brought wind of my Loved Friend who’d gone away.
     I too shall yield my heart unto the wind: let come what may.
At length my loving comes to this: I have no confidant
     but blazing lightning every night and dawn wind every day.
Defenseless in your deep curled locks, and out of me, my heart
     never once said “Let me recall the body where I lay”
Today, I see my friends were wise to counsel against lovefall.
     Elate my counselors’ souls, O Lord, and bless the truth they say.
Remembering you, my heart was bloodstruck every time wind blew
     open the rosebud’s robe out on the grass in gentle play.
My weakened being leaked out through my fingertips till dawn,
whose wind blew hope of you, and brought the life back to my clay.
          Hafiz, your noble heart will soon achieve your true desire.
          Wherever noble men cry out, let every soul obey.


Translation by A.Z. Foreman



دوش آگهی ز یار سفرکرده داد باد      من نیز دل به باد دهم هر چه باد باد

کارم بدان رسید که همراز خود کنم         هر شام برق لامع و هر بامداد باد

در چین طره تو دل بی حفاظ من         هرگز نگفت مسکن مالوف یاد باد

امروز قدر پند عزیزان شناختم        یا رب روان ناصح ما از تو شاد باد

خون شد دلم به یاد تو هر گه که در چمن             بند قبای غنچه گل می‌گشاد باد

از دست رفته بود وجود ضعیف من    صبحم به بوی وصل تو جان بازداد باد

حافظ نهاد نیک تو کامت برآورد

جان‌ها فدای مردم نیکونهاد باد

Hafez- “For years my heart asked of me” Ghazal 143

One of my favorite poems from my favorite poet, rendered into excellent English verse-quite a feat.

سالها دل طلب جام جم از ما می کرد   آنچه خود داشت ز بیگانه تمنا می کرد

“For years my heart inquired of me‚”



Read the translator’s notes

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.”

Source: Poetry (April 2008).

Original Persian:


سال‌ها دل طلب جام جم از ما می‌کرد

وان چه خود داشت ز بیگانه تمنا می‌کرد


گوهری کز صدف کون و مکان بیرون است

طلب از گمشدگان لب دریا می‌کرد


مشکل خویش بر پیر مغان بردم دوش

کو به تایید نظر حل معما می‌کرد


دیدمش خرم و خندان قدح باده به دست

و اندر آن آینه صد گونه تماشا می‌کرد


گفتم این جام جهان بین به تو کی داد حکیم

گفت آن روز که این گنبد مینا می‌کرد


بی دلی در همه احوال خدا با او بود

او نمی‌دیدش و از دور خدا را می‌کرد


این همه شعبده خویش که می‌کرد این جا

سامری پیش عصا و ید بیضا می‌کرد


گفت آن یار کز او گشت سر دار بلند

جرمش این بود که اسرار هویدا می‌کرد


فیض روح القدس ار باز مدد فرماید

دیگران هم بکنند آن چه مسیحا می‌کرد


گفتمش سلسله زلف بتان از پی چیست

گفت حافظ گله‌ای از دل شیدا می‌کرد

From: http://hafez.mastaneh.ir/ghazal/ghazal-143/

Listen to another recitation here

Aziz Mian-It doesn’t get much better than this…


Mein Kya Janu Raam

Oh God how can I figure out Your unfathomable ways?”

Probably my favorite qawwal.  The imagery, the rhythm, the sincere intensity, the pure poetry of the performance is almost overwhelming

Every wise man has given up
what strange disguises man has adopted in this curious world of Yours
God how can I figure out your unfathomable ways?
O wise man, understand this, but do not use this understanding
Do not use it, why?
Reason is cunning, it changes its face too often
Abraham leapt into Nimrod’s flames
reason is fascinated by outward charms
O wise man, understand this
reason dictates pleasure
Love dictates suffering
reason dictates wealth
Love dictates poverty
reason strives for glory
Love strives for wilderness
reason strives for the glitter of the world
Love for the beloved’s humble home
So you wise men, understand this
but do not use this understanding
If you can understand something, then do so
But say nothing
If you speak, say only:
Oh God how can I figure out
Your unfathomable ways?
Do the perverse stars in the sky belong to you or me?  How can I figure that out?
You are educated people-I am making my point in an unusual way
I am yearning for the one whom I cannot forsake
I am searching for the one whom i cannot find
O God you are invisible
and it is futile to search for the Invisible One
But what am I to do?
The invisible is omnipresent
O God, you are found in everything
O God, you are found in everything-Why?
What a way You have with You
Wherever I look I see You
O God you are found in everything
without a doubt
Yet you are still invisible
When I set out to search for you I kept saying “invisible”, “invisible”
“in visible”…”in       visible”…
How can I figure this out, why?
Your glory is everywhere
wherever I look I see you
You are everywhere
You are everywhere in everything and in You
Beloved I have seen you everywhere
Obvious here, concealed there
At times human, at times divine
At times possible, at times certain
perishing here, eternal there
a prince here, a pauper there
Love here, yearning for love there
Here a sacrifice, there an executioner
Sounds of truth and of lies
A flowing river and a shore
In the places of worship
in the tragic tales of legendary lovers
in the goblet of a king
in the full moon
in the verses of the Qur’an, flowing water, mortality
and in the splendor of martyrdom
O God when You are everywhere-then can I ask
Who has come to this altar with prayer beads?
If your name is uttered with every bead, then what of the bead itself?
If you reside in a settlement, then who is in the wilderness?
If You are the flame, then who is the moth?
If you are the cup-bearer, then who is in the cup?
If you are in Mecca, then who is in idols?
Oh God how can I figure out
Your unfathomable ways?


Hafez- “I said I suffer for you” “گفتم غم تو دارم”


I said, “I suffer because of you.” She said, “Your suffering will end.”

I said, “Become my moon.” She said, “If it comes to pass.”


I said, “From lovers learn the custom of loyalty.”

She said, “Among the moon-faced ones this is rarely found.”


I said, “I will barricade your image from the road of my sight.”

She said, “It is a thief, and will come a different way.”


I said, “The scent of your hair has led me astray in the world.”

She said, “If you understand, it can also be your guide.”


I said, “Happy is the wind that rises from the garden of beauty.”

She said, “Fresh is the breeze that comes from my alleyway.”


I said, “Thirst for your ruby libs killed us with hope.”

She said, “Serve it, for it comes to nourish its servants.”


I said, “When does your merciful heart intend a truce?”

She said, “Speak of this to no one until that time comes.”


I said, “Did you see how these joyful times ended?”

She said, “Be quiet, Hafiz. This grief will also end.”


From: The Green Sea of Heaven: Fifty ghazals from the Diwan of Hafiz. Translated by Elizabeth T. Gray, Jr. Ashland, Oregon: White Cloud Press, 2002. p. 111