Write a thousand luminous secrets upon the wall of existence so that even a blind man will know where we are, and join us in this Love! ~ Hafiz
The Gift is renderings of Hafiz by translator Daniel Ladinsky. In the summary description of this book, it aptly states that “Indeed, Daniel Ladinsky has said that his work with Hafiz is an attempt to do the impossible: to render Light into words—to make the Luminous Resonance of God tangible to our finite senses …”
And, in the Preface of The Gift, Daniel himself captures the essence of his work and Hafiz:
“… Every line of Hafiz that I have wept over—and there have been many—increased my desire to impart his remarkable qualities: an audacious encouragement, his outrageous onslaught of love, a transforming knowledge and generosity, his sweet-playful exuberant genius that is unparalleled in world literature. There is a mystical dimension in his poetry that heals and bestows “The Gift.”
There is dulcet language that rises from his reed-soul, the voice of one “startled by God.” His words are a music that comforts, empowers, enlightens. Hafiz is one of the greatest spiritual friends, lovers, and guides that humankind has ever known. For centuries he has been called the Tongue of the Invisible, for he continues to sing beautiful and wild love songs from God. He invites us to join him in his fantastic applause of life.
I vote to inscribe these words of Hafiz on every flag, church bell, temple, mosque, and politician’s brain: Dear ones, let’s anoint this earth with dance!
Daniel Ladinsky, January 31, 1999″ ~ see full attribution below … plus more from Daniel
So, here’s one of Hafiz’s “wild love songs from God” where he is inviting “us to join him in his fantastic applause of life …” :
When the Sun Conceived a Man
What could Hafiz utter about that day
When the Sun conceived a Man,
Gave birth to Itself
As Reality and Truth?
What justice could all the speech in creation
About that resplendent morning
When the Eternal Handsome One
Let His face
Reappear by grace in form?
There is something I have seen
In the interior of Muhammad
That is the luminous root
Of all existence,
Independent of space and time’s
Across a single lute string
Of the Infinite.
What can even the love of Hafiz express
For the Ancient Sweet Man
Who forever begets compassion
And divine playfulness?
What can the vortex of my sublime wit,
Insight, and gratitude ever say
About the Father of the Perfect Ones,
When they, themselves,
Can turn you into God?
I carry gifts today
From the kings of fish, beasts, birds,
I carry gifts today
From rivers, seas, fields, stars,
And from every soul,
From every soul—
That will ever
Let us know
What light first saw and said
When it discovered
Then leaped and swooned
In such a wonderful laughter
That light became
This earthen floor
O, Eternal One,
On this ever present holy day
Forget your divine reserve—
Throw wide the Tavern doors.
Give all your thirsty loyal rogues
A drink of your sacred vintage,
Free us from ourselves a while
With the blessed consuming knowledge
Of your Omnipresent Being.
We are your yearning brides, why hide it?
We are singed dervish moths.
Our souls know
Of that immaculate fire you keep
That belongs to us!
Even death now will have no power
To quiet your Name
From beating wildly in our hearts.
Now is no time to sit still
For nothing but a great clamor of joy
Can make any sense
=== ==== ===
Here are some added, pertinent, remarks by Daniel, on Hafiz … excerpted from the Preface of The Gift:
For centuries, Shams-ud-din Muhammad Hafiz (c. 1320-1389) has been a magnificent friend to the human spirit. To millions throughout the world the poems of Hafiz are not a classical work from the remote past, but cherished love, music, wisdom, and humor from a dear companion. These extraordinary verses bestow a precious knowledge. With a wonderful—at times outrageous—genius Hafiz brings us nearer to God. This Persian master is a profound champion of freedom; he constantly encourages our hearts to dance!
Hafiz’s poetry is rooted in the beautiful human need for companionship and in the soul’s innate desire to surrender all experience—except Light. These verses speak on many levels simultaneously, though they are crafted with such a brilliance rarely does one feel left out.
Hafiz’s message is as relevant now as it was when he wrote in the fourteenth century. He continues to offer all seekers a spiritual recovery and intricate help with the heart’s imperative—its destined, glorious unfolding of love. “My spring eyes will still warm faces, and awake verdant earths in your soul.” People from many religious traditions share the belief that there are always living persons who are one with God. These rare souls disseminate light upon this earth and entrust the Divine to others. Hafiz is regarded as one who came to live in that sacred union, and sometimes in his poems he speaks directly of that experience. …
I believe that the adoption of sanctified poetry from one culture to another, such as we are now witnessing on a large scale, heralds the next conscious step of evolution of the adopting language. True art evolves us—opens our arms and weakens our prejudices so that the ever-present seeds of healing and renewal can take root in our soul and sinew, cause joy. …
I might also mention here that once in a while I may seem to have taken the liberty to play a few of these lines through a late-night jazz sax instead of from a morning temple drum or lyre. To some readers a few expressions in this book may appear too contemporary for this work. To that I say—nothing doing. The word translation comes from the Latin for “to bring across.” My goal is to bring across, right into your lap, the wondrous spirit of Hafiz that lifts the corners of the mouth. I view this goal as a primary, no-holds-barred task. And I apologize for any language that may stop the beguine and not let the reader remain in Hafiz’s tender strong embrace.