Divan Hafiz Shirazi

Open my grave when I am dead, 
and you'll see a cloud of smoke rising out from it; 
then you'll know that the fire still burns
in my dead heart-
yeah, it has set my very winding-sheet ablaze.
~Hafiz Shirazi


The morning breeze comes back 
and from the southern desert 
the lapwing returns 
The dove's soft song about roses 
I hear that again. 

The tulip, who understands what the lily says, 
went away, but now she's back. 
With the sound of a bell, 
strength and gentleness. 

Hafiz broke his vow and damaged his heart, 
but now, for no reason, his Friend forgives that, 
and turns, and walks back up to his door.
~Hafiz - Translated by Coleman Barks

Click on each link below to read a poem by Hafiz in English and Farsi or Persian simultaneously...Courtesy oHafiz on Love

~ The Ecstatic Poetry of Hafiz  ~

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"Hafiz of Shiraz (1325 - 1390) is the greatest Persian poet. The poetry of Hafiz is erotic yet spiritual, both sensual and symbolic, full of images of wine and the tavern, of the Beloved, and of nightingales and roses. Hafiz, a Sufi poet, expressed in poetry love for the Divine, and the intoxicating oneness of union with Him. Hafiz, along with many Sufi masters, uses wine as the symbol for love. The intoxication that results from both is why it is such a fitting comparison. Hafiz spoke out about the hypocrisy and deceit that exists in society, and was more outspoken in pointing this out than many poets."

Path to God
Has made me such an old sweet beggar.
I was starving until one night
My love tricked God Himself
To fall into my bowl.
Now Hafiz is infinitely rich,
But all I ever want to do
Is keep emptying out
My emerald-filled pockets
Upon this tear-stained World.
 ~Hafiz Shirazi

Say it brother, O say the divine name dear sister, 
silently as you walk, 
don't die again with that holy ruby mine inside 
still unclaimed when you could be swinging a golden pick
with each step.
 ~Hafiz Shirazi

Come, let's scatter roses and pour wine in the glass;
we'll shatter heaven's roof and lay a new foundation.
If sorrow raises armies to shed the blood of lovers,
I'll join the wine-bearer so we can overthrow them.
With a sweet string at hand, 
play a sweet song, my friend,
so we can clap and sing a song, 
and lose our heads in dancing...
 ~Hafiz Shirazi

"Khwajeh Shams al-Din Mohammad Hafiz Shirazi, the shining star of the rich Persian literature, was born in Shiraz in around 725/1325. He presented his great Gnostic and poetic services to the Persian literature and Iranian culture during the 77 years of his prolific life.
Hafiz created the best literary and Gnostic concepts in the form of eloquent and pithy lyrics. His concepts surpassed those of other contemporary philosophers, thinkers and scholars. His marvelous poems, not complying with the existing norms of his time, contributed a valuable and unique treasure to the Persian literature. He made excellent use of allusions, metaphors, parables and other figures of speech, never achieved before or after him.
Hafiz is one of the rare poets capable of expressing the lovers' grief, the feelings of burning butterflies, a candle's sigh and a nightingale's love with great eloquence. He has preserved his words in an ocean of accessible and unique definitions and images, which are an honor for the Persian culture.
From his large collection of poems, nearly 400 well-known verses and lyrics has so far been rewritten and printed thousands of times and translated into tens of other languages. Hafiz died in 803 AH. He was buried adjacent to the public prayer ground in a suburb of Shiraz. His shrine is the place of pilgrimage for the yearning mystics, lovers of poetic perfection and the seekers of truth and humanism.

The poetic heritage of Hafiz includes approximately 4000-5000 verses, 400-500 lyric-poems, several long elegies, short couplets and a few pieces of 9th century inscriptions. His lyrics, attributed to divine grace and the complete messages of the great Qoran, have always been held in great esteem by Persian speakers, enthusiasts and Muslims. People's respect for this great poet is so great that his Divan is found in almost every house. Before beginning any new venture, or when hesitant about any particular decision, people consult his Divan to seek a convincing answer, which they often find.

1. Introduction

It is two hundred years since the birth of Sir William Jones (1746-1794), the father of Persian studies in the west; 170 years since the publication of A Persian Song, his celebrated translation which introduced Hafez of Shiraz to the literary world of London and Europe. The present is thus a peculiarly opportune time to review what his successors have done in furthering the study and interpretation of this, the greatest lyric poet of Persia; the more so since it has long been desirable to furnish students with a text-book appropriate to their needs as beginners in the appreciation of Persian lyrical poetry. The selection now presented has been made with the double object of exhibiting the various aspects of Hafez style and thought, and of representing how English scholars have attempted to render his poetry in their own language. Lest it should be supposed that the work of two centuries has exhausted every aspect of the study of Hafez, and that the last word on his interpretation has been said, these introductory remarks will suggest fresh approaches to the subject, and propose a number of lines along which future research might with advantage be directed.

Hafez is by universal consent the supreme master of the art of the Persian ghazal, a literary form generally equated with the lyric; though perhaps the sonnet is in some respects a closer equivalent. When it is considered that literary critics of undoubted authority have estimated Persian poetry as an important contribution to the art of self-expression in metre and rhyme, and the Persian ghazal as a form unsurpassable of its kind, it may be readily conceded that Hafez is a poet eminently worth study; and it may without undue optimism be conjectured that as a master of a splendid art-form he can still teach useful lessons to all who are interested in the evolution of poetic expression. If it is added, as a personal opinion, that Hafez technique can by modified imitation inspire new developments in western poetry, perhaps a claim so extravagant will not be rejected so summarily as similar claims less solidly founded; for Hafez is as highly esteemed by his countrymen as Shakespeare by us, and deserves as serious consideration.

2. History

There is little reliable information on which to construct a biography of Hafez; though modern scholars have displayed great learning and ingenuity in attempting to recover the salient facts of his career. The student is recommended to consult the charming preface to Gertrude Bell's Poems from the Divan of Hafez; the section on Hafez in E.G. Browne's Literary History of Persia; the introduction to Hossein Pezhman's edition of the Divan; and, above all, the voluminous and profound study of the poet by Dr. Qasem Ghani (Bahth dar Athar u ahval-e Hafez) which is now appearing in Tehran. Not to duplicate what is readily accessible elsewhere, we confine ourselves here to the barest outline of the poet's life.

Shams al-Din Hafez of Shiraz was born at the capital of the province of Fars about the year 720/1320; some sixty years after the great catastrophe of Islamic history, Hulagu Khan's capture and sack of Baghdad; and fifty years after the death of Jalal al-Din Rumi (d. 672/1273), Persia's most original mystical poet. He grew up in an age when the finest Persian literature had already been written, and in the shadow of the reputation of his distinguished fellow-citizen, Sheikh Sa'di (d. 690/1291 or 691/1292). Persian poetry had thus reached its consummation in the romantic epic (Nezami probably died in 599/1202), the mystical Mathnavi, the Robaii, the Qasideh (Anvari died between 585/1189 and 587/1191), and gnomic verse; Hafez spent little time on Qasideh, and Robaii, and none at all on the other classical forms, but elected to specialize in the Ghazal, no doubt supposing-and not without cause-that he had something to contribute to this most delicate of all poetic forms.

As a student, Hafez evidently learned the Qoran by heart (for so his name implies), and his poetry proves that, like other Persian poets, he acquired a competence in all the Muslim sciences taught in his day; for the Persian poet must have learning as much as original genius. It seems likely that he was a man of no great substance, especially if we admit the evidence of a manuscript of the Khamse of Amir Khosro of Delhavi (d. 725/1325) now preserved in the State Library of Tashkent which bears a colophon stating that it was written by "the humblest of God's creatures Muhammad nicknamed Shams al-Hafez al-Shirazi" and completed on 24 Safar 756/9 February 1355 (see A. A. Semenov's note in Sukhan, vol. II, pp. 95-6); for only a relatively poor man would seek his bread by transcribing other men's poems for pay. It remained for him therefore to develop and perfect his God-given genius for song, and by soliciting the favor of wealthy and powerful patrons to emulate in the fourteenth century those already legendary figures of the twelfth who had risen in the courts of princes to great eminence and abundant riches, and yet secured the highest prize of all, immortality in the hearts and on the lips of succeeding generations. Wealth, as it seems, was destined to elude Hafez grasp, for the age in which he lived was an age of insecurity and sudden catastrophe; but he achieved in full measure the ampler portion of eternal fame, even in lands whose very names were unknown in his day and among peoples speaking a language cognate with his own, yet never imagined in his mind.

Shiraz, "a large and flourishing town with many riches and many inhabitants" (as the anonymous author of the Hudud al-alam called it, writing towards the end of the tenth century), capital of the province of Fars from which Persia obtained her name in the West, at the time of Hafez birth formed part of the dominions of Sharaf al-Din Mahmood shah of the Inju dynasty, a fief of the Mongol overlord Uljaitu and his successor Abu Sa'id. The territories about the city were infested with robber bands, to prevent whose depradations formed no small part of the cares of the ruler. The death of Abu Said in 736/1335 provided the youthful Hafez with his first personal experience of the transient nature of human glory; for his follower Arpa Khan had Mahmood shah immediately put to death. There followed a struggle for power between his four sons, Jalal al-Din Masood shah, Ghiyath al-Din Keikhosro, Shams al-Din Muhammad and Abu Ishaq Jamal al-Din; Keikhosro was the first to pay the supreme penalty of unwise ambition (739/1339), to be followed to his grave the next year by Muhammad. Meanwhile Shiraz passed into the hands of Pir Hossein, the Chupanid princeling with whom Muhammad had conspired and who requited his confidence by slaying him; but the intruder had little joy of his filched possession; the infuriated populace drove him out, and when he would have returned the following year he fell out with a confederate and met his end. Masood shah, the eldest of Mahmood shah's sons, fell victim to an imprudent intrigue in 743/1343; and after a further bout of violence the youngest of the brothers, Abu Ishaq, at last succeeded in establishing his authority throughout Fars. We have a fragment of Hafez (Brockhaus' edition of the Divan, no. 579), written many years after these events, in which the poet recalls the reign of "Shah Sheikh Abu Ishaq when five wonderful persons inhabited the kingdom of Fars" --the Shah himself, the chief judge of Shiraz Majd al-Din Ismail bin Mohammad bin Khodadad, a certain Sheikh Amin al-Din, the eminent theologian and philosopher Adud al-Din Abd al-Rahman bin Ahmad al-Iji (d. 756/1355), and Hajji Qawam al-Din Hassan, a favorite of the Shah, whose death in 754/1353 Hafez celebrated with a necrology (Brockhaus no. 610).

Abu Ishaq was an ambitious man; having secured the mastery of Shiraz and Fars he sought to extend his dominion to embrace Yazd and Kerman, and so brought himself into conflict with the neighboring dynasty of the Mozaffarids. This house, founded by Sharaf al-Din Mozaffar (d. 713/1314) the fief successively of the Mongol Ilkhans Arghun, Ghazan, and Uljaitu, had its capital at Maibudh near Yazd. Mozaffar was succeeded by his son Mobarez al-Din Muhammad, at that time a lad of thirteen; he grew into a resolute and ruthless ruler, taking Yazd in 718/1318 or 719/1319 and holding his petty empire in the face of bloody rebellion; profiting by the chaos that resulted from the death of Abu Said, in 740/1340 he annexed Kerman. Twice Abu Ishaq essayed to wrest Kerman from the grasp of its new master, and twice he failed; in 751/1350-1 he tried his hand against Yazd, but was speedily repulsed; a third attempt at Kerman ended in a signal defeat (753/1352). Mobarez al-Din, encouraged by this final verdict, now took the offensive into the enemy's camp, and in 754/1353 he captured Shiraz; he pursued his triumph, took Isfahan, and put his stubborn foe to death in 757/1356 or 758/1357.

It appears that Shiraz did not greatly enjoy its change of rulers, for Mubarez al-Din was a Sunni zealot; the story of the closing of the wine-taverns, and Hafez supposed reference to the event, may be read in Browne (Literary History of Persia, vol. III, pp. 277-5). However, the conqueror did not long prevail in his new empire; for in 759/1358, while on a military expedition that had won for him the temporary possession of Tabriz, he was made prisoner by his own son Shah Shoja and, after the barbarous fashion of those days, blinded; he died in 765/1364. Hafez does not appear to have esteemed it profitable to solicit the favor of the austere Mobarez al-Din, though he has two poems in praise of his chief minister Borhan al-Din Fath Allah (Brockhaus, nos. 400, 571).

Shah Shoja enjoyed a relatively long reign, though he saw his share of fraternal envy and neighborly rivalries. His brother Shah Mahmood, who ruled over Abarquh and Isfahan, in 764/1363 seized Yazd; to be in turn besieged in Isfahan until the two princes came to an understanding. The reconciliation was short-lived; the following year Mahmood allied himself to Oweis the Jalairid ruler of Baghdad since 756/1355, and after laying siege to Shiraz for eleven months captured the city, only to lose it again in 767/1366. Shah Mahmood died in 776/1375, and thereupon Shah Shoja possessed himself of Isfahan. Oweis succumbed suddenly in the same year; and the lord of Shiraz thought the moment opportune to enlarge himself towards Azarbaijan at the expense of Hossein, the new sovereign of Baghdad. However, what success Shah Shoja' achieved was soon undone when he found his nephew Shah Yahya conspiring against him; he renounced his spoils, made peace with Hossein, and married his son Zein al-Abedin to the Baghdadi's sister. This was far from the end of trouble between the two neighbors; and when Hossein was murdered by his brother Ahmad in 783/1381, the latter, confronted by the inevitable succession of hopeful pretenders, was glad to solicit the friendly support of Shah Shoja, and to repudiate it as soon as his throne seemed secure. But meanwhile a cloud was gathering on the horizon that would presently grow into a storm sweeping all these petty conspiracies into ruin and oblivion. Teymur Lang, born at Kash in Transoxiana in 736/1336, had won his way through blood to the throne as "rightful heir" to Chaghatai and true descendant of Chingiz; after ten years' wars of consolidation, he invaded Khorasan in 782/1380-1, and within two years mastered Gorgan. Mazandaran and Seistan. Shah Shoja, recognizing the portents, bought the favor of the mighty conqueror with rich gifts and a daughter; death spared him further anxieties in 786/ 1384.

The reign of Shah Shoja saw the full blossoming of the flower of Hafez genius. Being a man of more liberal views than his predecessor, he created the conditions indispensable to the free display of poetic talent; and though it is said that relations between the poet and his royal patron were at times lacking in cordiality (see Browne, op. cit. vol. III, pp. 280-2), Hafez immortalized him by name in four poems (cf. Brockhaus, nos. 327, 344, 346) and wrote a noble necrology for his epitaph (Brockhaus, no. 601); it is as certain as such conjectures can be that very many other poems in the Divan, though not naming Shah Shoja directly, were composed for him. Future researchers may recover much from the obscure hints scattered up and down the poet's verses to shed new light on the dark history of these years in the chequered fortunes of Shiraz.

Shah Shoja shortly before dying nominated his son Zein al-Abedin Ali to rule over Shiraz, and his brother Emad al-Din Ahmad to govern Kerman. Ali was immediately opposed by his cousin Shah Yahya bin Sharaf al-Din Mozaffar (Hafez courted him by name in five poems) who although subsequently reconciled lost his command of Isfahan and fled to Yazd. In 789/1387 Ali, learning that his nominee at Isfahan, Mozaffar-e Kashi, had yielded before the approach of Teymur, abandoned Shiraz for Baghdad and left it to Shah Yahya to make what terms he could with the formidable invader. The people of Isfahan were so imprudent as to kill Teymur's envoys, and expiated their rashness in a fearful massacre. Teymur declared Sultan Ahmad the governor of Fars, as well as Kerman; then followed a bewildering series of events, characteristic of the kaleidoscopic nature of the destinies of those times. Zein al-Abedin Ali on quitting Shiraz had secured the friendship of his cousin Shah Mansoor b. Sharaf al-Din Mozaffar at Shushtar, but was almost immediately attacked and imprisoned by him. Shah Mansoor (whom Hafez complimented in a number of poems, including, according to some manuscripts) now walked into undefended Shiraz; and when Ali, released by his jailers, made common cause with Shah Yahya and Sultan Ahmad against him, Mansoor defeated the coalition and occupied all Iraq. Ali fled, but was captured by the governor of Raiy and handed over to Shah Mansoor, who ordered him to be blinded. Flushed with these successes, Mansoor thought to match his fortunes against the dread Teymur's. It was an unlucky speculation. The mighty conqueror marched. to the gates of Shiraz, and there, after a desperate resistance, Mansoor fell. The rest of the Mozaffarids immediately declared their submission to Teymur; but their tardy realism secured them only a week's further lease of life, and in Rajab 795/March l393 they were all executed.
Hafez had not lived to see the final ruin of the house that had patronized his genius and been immortalized in his songs. In the year 791/1389 (or, according to some authorities, 792/1390) he passed to the mercy of God, and discovered at last the solution to the baffling riddle of human life. His death took place in the beloved city that had given him birth; he lies buried in the rose-bower of Mosalla, on the banks of the Roknabad, so often celebrated in his poems; his grave is marked by a tablet inscribed with two of his songs.

Such, in brief outline, were the main events of fourteenth-century Fars, so far as they affected Hafez life. The legends of his relations with distant rulers, of his intended journey to India, of his debate with Teymur Lang, may be read in Gertrude Bell and the other biographers, for what they are worth; it is sufficient to say that we have no contemporary evidence for them, and that they rest in all likelihood upon no securer basis than the intelligent speculation of his readers in after times; modern criticism is perhaps entitled to make its own guesses with equal measure of certainty and uncertainty. What is indisputable is that these were the times in which the poet lived, and these the verses (or as much of them as are genuine, of which more hereafter) in which he expressed his reactions to the world about him. Being a near and interested witness of many transactions of great violence, and the incalculable destinies of kings and princes, he might well sing:

"Again the times are out of joint; and again
For wine and the loved one's languid glance I am fain.
The wheel of fortune's sphere is a marvelous thing:
What next proud head to the lowly dust will it bring?
Or if my Magian elder kindle the light,
Whose lantern, pray, will blaze aflame and be bright?
'Tis a famous tale, the deceitfulness of earth;
The night is pregnant: what will dawn bring to birth?
Tumult and bloody battle rage in the plain:
Bring blood-red wine, and fill the goblet again!"

3. Various Editions of Divan

It is said that in the year 770/1368-9 Hafez Prepared a definitive edition of his poems. What truth there is in this tradition it is impossible now to decide; in any case we possess no manuscripts based upon this archetype; for all our transcriptions they must surely run into many thousands scattered all over the world probably go back ultimately to the edition put out after the poet's death by his friend Muhammad Golandam with a florid but singularly uninformative preface. Unless therefore the unexpected should happen, and beyond all reasonable hopes a manuscript or manuscripts turn up representing a tradition anterior to Golandam's edition, we cannot get any nearer to the poems as Hafez himself wrote them than the text authorized after his death by a friend whose piety is unquestionable, but concerning whose scholarship and accuracy we are not in a position to form any judgment. The only other slight chance of escaping from this impasse, a slender one indeed, is to examine all the commentaries on the Divan (four in Persian and three in Turkish are known), every takhmis or tasdis (poems incorporating in Divan of Hafez) composed by later poets, and every Jung (commonplace book) and tadhkira (biographies) in which Hafez is quoted, as well as every poem written since his time in which his verses are introduced by the figure known as tadmin; and it might well be found, at the end of all these labors, that we had still not progressed far beyond Golandam.

Certainly well over a hundred printed or lithographed texts of Hafez have appeared, since the editio princeps issued by Upjohn's Calcutta press in 1791. Of these all but a very few represent a completely uncritical approach to the task of editorship. The best European edition is no doubt that of H. Brockhaus (Leipzig, 1854-63) which is based on the manuscript of the Turkish commentator Sudi (d. 1006/1598) and includes a considerable part of his commentary. Several critical texts have been prepared in recent years by Persian scholars; of these the most reliable is that published at Tehran in 1320/1941 under the editorship of Mirza Mohammad Qazvini, E.G. Browne's friend and the doyen of modern Persian studies, and Dr Qasem Ghani, whose valuable and comprehensive monograph on the life and times of Hafez has already been mentioned. The most serious drawback to this otherwise admirable and beautiful text-it is a reproduction of an excellent original written in calligraphic nasta'liq is its deficient critical apparatus. This text is based on a comparison of no fewer than seventeen manuscripts, several of them exceedingly old, and has been made by two of the most eminent Persian scholars, Hossein Pezhman (Tehran, 1318/1939), and Masood Farzad.

The first and most fundamental problem attending the task of editing Hafez is to decide which of the poems attributed to him in the various manuscripts are genuine products of his pen. An indication of the complexity of this problem is provided by the following figures. The Calcutta 1791 edition contains 725 poems; Brockhaus printed 692; Pezhman has 994 items, many of them marked as doubtful or definitely spurious. The Qazvini and Ghani edition of Divan has 495 ghazals as unquestionably genuine, beside 3 qasidehs, 2 mathnavis, 34 occasional pieces (muqatta'at) and 42 robais, a total of 573 poems. Their peer editorship causes a number of popular favorites (popular rather in India and Europe than in Persia) to disappear, perhaps the best known of them being the jingle "taza ba-taza nau ba-nau" which B. H. Palmer and Gertrude Bell made into pleasant English verses.

When the supposititious poems have been rejected, the next task is to determine what lines of each genuine poem are authentic; for very many of them have been inflated in the manuscripts, sometimes by as much as four or five couplets. This labor accomplished, it yet remains to establish the correct order of the lines of each poem-there is sometimes the wildest variation in this respect between the manuscripts. Finally, and in many ways most troublesome of all, we have to settle the innumerable problems of verbal variants.

There are a number of different reasons for this wide inconsistency between the manuscripts. To consider the spurious poems first: the explanation of this phenomenon is fairly simple; no doubt the prevailing cause is the desire of copyists at one stage or other of the transmission of the text to secure for their own inferior versifying an unmerited immortality by signing their products with Hafez name. This is the conclusion reached by all scholars who have looked at the problem, and not only in connection with Hafez; for it is a very prevalent malaise of Persian literature. But it seems reasonable to suppose that this does not tell the whole story. It may well be, in the first place, that other poets, possibly in Hafez lifetime even, used the same pen-name as the great master; and that lyrics by them, quite innocently confounded with the poems of the supreme Hafez, have been diligently incorporated into the Divan. Again, it is not an impossible conjecture that, just as painters of great eminence in Persia are known to have signed the work of their pupils after making a few masterly retouches, so a celebrated poet would add to his income by teaching the craft to promising aspirants and would permit their "corrected" exercises to bear his name; he would be able during his lifetime to exclude such school specimens from the canon, but if they survived into later times there would be nothing but consummate literary taste to distinguish them from the poet's own work; and literary taste declined lamentably in the generations that followed Hafez, if indeed it ever existed to any marked extent among professional copyists. Lastly we have perhaps to reckon with a third group of poems written by Hafez himself-juvenilia and such-like-but rejected by him in the fastidiousness of his mature judgment. It would interest the scribe who worked for pay, especially if he had in prospect a wealthy but ill-educated patron, by dint of drawing on all these subsidiary sources to impress and please his master with "the largest and the most complete copy of Hafez poems yet assembled"; and so the evil tradition of an inflated text, once securely founded, would continue into later times and ultimately gain the deceptive respectability of age.

The phenomenon of obtrusive lines calls for a rather different diagnosis. The chief causes of this blemish seem to be twofold. First, we may conjecture that men of parts, while reading a good and uninflated manuscript of Hafez, might amuse themselves by noting in the margin verses of other poets, in the same metre and rhyme, which seemed to them comparable and apposite; these annotations would of course be incorporated by a later scribe into the body of the text. Secondly, it is highly likely-and there are numerous passages in the Divan which lend support to this supposition-that a considerable number of these extra lines go back to Hafez himself, and represent stages in his workmanship.

Verbal variants have their own variety of causes. Primarily there is the well-known carelessness of scribes, and, what is perhaps even more deplorable, their dishonesty; failing to understand a word or a phrase, they sometimes did not hesitate to bring their archetype within the range of their own limited comprehension. In the second place, these variants in many instances doubtless perpetuate the poet's first, second, third, or even fourth thoughts.
The foregoing analysis is not, the reader must believe, mere speculation; it is based upon a wide experience of manuscripts and a considerable apprenticeship in the trade of editing oriental texts; and chapter and verse could readily be quoted to illustrate every variety of contrariety and corruption. We will leave the subject with a recommendation that future editors of Hafez should exercise their scholarship, not unprofitably, by classifying according to their causes the outstanding variants in the codices.

4. Hafiz' Poetic Style

Hafez found in the ghazal a well-developed art-form; it had been an instrument of many famous poets, each of whom had contributed in his turn something towards its evolution. Limited by circumstance and tradition to a comparatively short length convenient for singing, it had begun its life as a poem of love and wine; the Sufis had exploited its libertine reputation in their quest for worldly shame, until the allegory had come finally to dominate the simple reality. This new treatment of the form, that must have seemed startlingly novel at first, was not long in fossilizing into a hard convention; the miraculous facility of Sa'di's style might well have rendered further development impossible. The problem Hafez faced was similar in its own way to that which confronted Beethoven how to improve upon the apparently perfect and final; Hafez solution was no less brilliantly original than Beethoven's.

Just as Beethoven's earliest compositions strikingly resemble the mature Haydn, so Hafez in his first period is perfect Sa'di. It is only natural to suppose that the young poet was captivated by the legend of the most famous singer Shiraz had ever produced; he must have been eager to learn every detail of his fame from the lips of those still living who had seen and heard him; to his youthful spirit it may well have seemed the acme of ambition to imitate his flawless style. Though his editor Golandam, by following the tradition of arranging his poems alphabetically according to rhyme, destroyed all vestiges of a chronological sequence, it is still possible within certain limits to assign the ghazals to definite periods in the poet's life; further research will doubtless establish a more exact precision in this respect than we have yet achieved.

The outstanding characteristic of the poems of Hafez' first period is that each deals with a single theme. This theme is elaborated to the poet's content and satisfaction; but he does not introduce as he always did later a second or a third theme to combine with the first; much less (as we find increasingly in the last period) does he make brief and fragmentary references to themes (for it was only after his fame had been established and his style become known that he could afford such refinements and be confident of remaining intelligible). A second point to note in the early poems is the complete absence of that distinctive philosophy which is the invariable accompaniment of his mature compositions: what may be epitomized as the doctrine of unreason, the poet's final answer to the inscrutability of fate, the utter incapacity of man to master the riddle of the universe. Thirdly, and as a natural corollary of the preceding point, we find in these products of early manhood very little of the Sufi allegory love in them is human love, wine is the red wine of the grape.

Hafez' second or middle period is marked by two important developments, the one relating to words and the other to meaning (to borrow the terminology of the Persian critics). The poet has found the escape for which he had been looking to rescue him from the impasse of Sa'di's technical perfection. Hitherto the ghazal had treated only one theme at a time, and had measured perfection in relation to the variations composed upon that single subject. In the works of many of the older poets (and Sa'di himself is not wholly exempt from this fault), the interest and ingenuity of the variations tended often to overshadow the significance of the theme itself; as a result the poem would cease to be an artistic unity; it would grow longer and longer; and there would be little difficulty for the critic actually to improve upon the poet's performance by pruning away the luxuriance of his imagination. Even in his younger days Hafez had always possessed too fine a critical sense to sacrifice unity on the a]tar of virtuosity; the new technique which he now invented depended wholly for success upon a rigid artistic discipline and an overwhelming feeling for shape and form.

The development in words (or, as we should say, poetic technique) invented by Hafez was the wholly revolutionary idea that a ghazal may treat of two or more themes, and yet retain its unity; the method he discovered might be described (to borrow a term from another art) as contrapuntal. The themes could be wholly unrelated to each other, even apparently incongruous; their alternating treatment would be designed to resolve the discords into a final satisfying harmony. As the poet acquired more and more experience of his new technique he was able to introduce further exciting innovations. It was not necessary to develop a theme to its logical conclusion at all; fragments of themes could be worked into the composition without damage to the resulting unity. It was the more easy to accomplish these experiments because convention had produced a regular repertory of themes to which Hafez added a few of his own creation and the audience would immediately recognize a familiar subject from the barest reference to it.

This brings us to Hafez' second development, that in meaning. This is called his philosophy of unreason, which constitutes the central core of the poet's message. It is not of course suggested that Hafez was the first Persian to discover, or to teach, that life is an insoluble mystery; the doctrine is implicit in the pessimism of Omar Khayyam, the mysticism of Rumi, even the pragmatism of Sa'di; its roots are deeply grounded in both Neoplatonism and the transcendental theism of the Qoran, those twain fountain-heads of Sufi theosophy. What Hafez did was rather to isolate this element from the mass of related and unrelated matter in which he found it embedded, and to put it forward as the focal point from which all theory, and all experience too, radiated. It was his justification for rejecting alike philosophy and theology, mosque and cloister, Legalistic righteousness and organized mysticism; it enabled him to profess his solidarity with the intoxicated Sufis like martyred Hallaj, and to revive the dangerous antinomianism of the Malamatis; but above all it provided him with a spiritual stronghold out of which he could view with serene equanimity, if not with indifference, the utterly confused and irrational world in which it was his destiny to live. Indeed it is scarcely surprising that Hafez should have found his only comfort in this doctrine, for the events he witnessed, and still more the events of which he must have heard all too much in his childhood the Mongol devastations and massacres were sufficient to shatter all belief in a reasonable universe, and to encourage the most pessimistic estimate of the significance of the individual life. We who have witnessed two world-wide wars, and have survived into what the journalists so appositely call the atomic age, are well placed to understand Hafez, and to appreciate the motives underlying his doctrine of intellectual nihilism. We can even understand how profoundly his philosophy differs from the hearty hedonism with which it has sometimes been confounded; the world's tragedy is too profound to be forgotten in unthinking mirth; and man for all his littleness and incapacity need not be unequal to the burden of sorrow and perplexity he is called upon to shoulder. Indeed, by abandoning the frail defences of intellectual reason and yielding himself wholly to the overwhelming forces of the spirit that surround him, by giving up the stubborn, intervening I m absolute surrender to the infinite thou man will out of his abject weakness rise to strength unmeasured; in the precious moments of unveiled vision he will perceive the truth that resolves all vexing problems, and win a memory to sustain him when the inevitable shadows close about him once more.

The middle period of Hafez artistic life the period of his greatest productivity was devoted to the working out of these two developments and their exploitation in a wide variety of forms. It should be remembered that all the time the poet was under the necessity of earning a livelihood; and this aspect of his poetry should not be neglected in any broad review. The praise of patrons, and the poet's own self-applause, are readily explained by the hard circumstances of his life, even if to Western taste they form the least attractive features of his work. In any case, as Persian critics have justly remarked, patron-flattery plays a far smaller part in Hafez' poetry than in that of any other court-minstrel, and his panegyric has little of the extravagance that characterizes so much of Persian literature.
The salient feature of the third and last period of Hafez' work is an increasing austerity of style, coupled with a growing tendency towards obscurity and allusiveness. It is as though the poet was growing weary, or perhaps feeling a distaste for the display of virtuosity; and having established his philosophy and perfected his technique, he was now experimenting in a sort of surrealist treatment of the ghazal. The poems of this period are comparatively few in number, but they are in many ways the poet's most interesting productions; they will repay extended study, for they are quite unique in Persian literature, and have perhaps never been fully understood and appreciated; certainly no later poet seems to have attempted to continue these final experiments of the master craftsman.

This is a list of selected books on Hafiz and his poems:

q 1771. William Jones, A Grammar of the Persian Language. 

q 1774. John Richardson, A Specimen of Persian Poetry.
q 1785. Thomas Law in Asiatick Miscellany, vol. I. Calcutta.
q 1786. H.H. in Asiatick Miscellany, vol. II. Calcutta.
q 1787. John Nott, Select Odes from the Persian poet Hafez.
q 1800. John Haddon Hindley, Persian Lyrics; or Scattered poems from the Diwan-e-Hafez.
q 1875. Hennann Bicknell, Hafez of Shiraz.
q 1877. Edward Henry Palmer, The Song of the Reed and Other Pieces.
q 1897. Gertrude Lowthian Bell, Poems from the Divan of Hafez. (William Heinemann, Ltd.)
q 1898. Walter Leaf, Versions from Hafez, an essay in Persian metre. (Alexander Moring, Ltd.)
q 1901. John Payne, The Poems of Shamseddin Mohammad Hafez of Shiraz. (Villon Society: for
private circulation only.) q 1905. Richard Le Gallienne, Odes from the Divan of Hafez. (L.C. Page & Co., Boston, U.S.A.) 
q 1921. Elizabeth Bridges (Elizabeth Daryush), Sonnets from Hafez and other Verses. (O.U.P.) 
q 1923. Reuben Levy, Persian Literature, an introduction. (O.U.P.)."

"Born in south-central Iran, the town of Shiraz, Khajeh Shamseddin Mohammad Hafiz Shiraz earned the title Hafiz (given to those who memorize the Koran).  He also had memorized many of the works of his hero, Saadi, as wells as Attar, Rumi and Nizami. His father who was a coal merchant died, leaving him and his mother with much debt. Hafiz and his mother went to live with his uncle. He left day school to work in a drapery shop and later in a bakery. 

While still working at the bakery, Hafiz delivered bread to a wealthy quarter of town and saw Shakh-e Nabat, a young woman of incredible beauty. Many of his poems are addressed to Shakh-e Nabat. In pursuit of reaching his beloved, Hafiz kept a forty day and night vigil at the tomb of Baba Kohi. After successfully attaining this, he met Attar (is not Attar Neishabouri) and became his disciple. 

Longing to be united with his Creator, at the age of 60 he began a forty day and night vigil by sitting in a circle that he had drawn himself. On the morn of the fortieth day of his vigil, which was also on the fortieth anniversary of meeting his Master Attar, he went to his Master, and upon drinking a cup of wine that Attar gave him, he attained Cosmic Consciousness or God-Realization. In this phase, up to the death, he composed more than half of his ghazals., and continued to teach his small circle of disciples. His poetry at this time, talk with the authority of a Master who is united with God. 

Hafiz died at the age of 70 (1389 CE) in Shiraz. Hafiz's body was buried in Musalla Gardens, along the banks of Roknabad river in Shiraz, which is now called Hafizieh. 

He left some 500 Ghazals, 42 Rubaiyees, and a few Ghaseedeh's, composed over a period of 50 years. Hafiz only composed when he was divinely inspired, and therefore he averaged only about 10 Ghazals per year. His focus was to write poetry worthy of the Beloved."

Over the centuries there have been many attempts to translate the subtleties of Hafiz's Persian verse into English. By all accounts even the best translations have been only partially successful. Some of the following translators have translated Hafiz directly from the Persian, others have adapted their poetry from the work of other translators.

Ghazal/Ode # 1 from Divan Hafiz Shirazi
~Translated by Shahriar Shahriari ~

O beautiful wine-bearer, 
bring forth the cup and put it to my lips
Path of love seemed easy at first, 
what came was many hardships.
With its perfume, 
the morning breeze unlocks those beautiful locks
The curl of those dark ringlets, 
many hearts to shreds strips.
In the house of my Beloved, 
how can I enjoy the feast
Since the church bells call 
the call that for pilgrimage equips.
With wine color your robe, 
one of the old Magi’s best tips
Trust in this traveler’s tips, 
who knows of many paths and trips.
The dark midnight, fearful waves, 
and the tempestuous whirlpool
How can he know of our state, 
while ports house his unladen ships.
I followed my own path of love, 
and now I am in bad repute
How can a secret remain veiled, 
if from every tongue it drips?
If His presence you seek, Hafiz, 
then why yourself eclipse?
Stick to the One you know, 
let go of imaginary trips.

Ghazal/Ode # 2 from Divan Hafiz Shirazi
~Translated by Shahriar Shahriari ~

Where is sensible action, & my insanity whence?
See the difference, it is from where to whence.
From the church & hypocritical vestments, I take offence
Where is the abode of the Magi, & sweet wine whence?
For dervishes, piety and sensibility make no sense
Where is sermon and hymn, & the violin's music whence.
Upon seeing our friend, our foes put up their defense
Where is a dead lantern, & the candle of the sun whence?
My eye-liner is the dust of your door and fence
Where shall I go, tell me, you command me whence?
Take your focus from your chin to the trap on the path hence,
Where to O heart, in such hurry you go whence?
May his memory of union be happy and intense
Where are your amorous gestures, & your reproach whence?
Make not restlessness & insomnia, Hafiz's sentence
What is rest, which is patience, and sleep whence?

Ghazal/Ode # 26 from Divan Hafiz Shirazi
~Translated by Shahriar Shahriari ~

Disheveled hair, sweaty, smiling, drunken, and
With a torn shirt, singing, the jug in hand
Narcissus loudly laments, on his lips, alas, alas!
Last night at midnight, 
came and sat right by my bed-stand
Brought his head next to my ears, with a sad song
Said, O my old lover, you are still in dreamland
The lover who drinks this nocturnal brew
Infidel, if not worships the wine's command
Go away O hermit, fault not the drunk
Our Divine gift from the day that God made sea and land
Whatever He poured for us in our cup, we just drank
If it was a cheap wine or heavenly brand
The smile on the cup's face and Beloved's hair strand
Break many who may repent, 
just as Hafiz falsely planned.

Ghazal/Ode # 26 from Divan Hafiz Shirazi
~Translated by Shahriar Shahriari ~

When God designed your features and joined your brows
Paved my way, then trapped me with your gestures & bows
The spruce and I, both rooted to the ground
Fate, like a fine cloth belt, its bind endows.
United the knots of my doing and of the budding heart
The fragrant breeze, when to you it made its vows.
Fate convinced me to be enslaved to thee
Yet nothing moves unless your will allows.
Like an umbilical cord, don't wrap around my heart
It is your flowing lock of hair that I espouse.
You were the desire of another, O breeze of union,
Alas, my heart's hope and fire you douse.
I said because of your infliction I shall leave my house
Smilingly said go ahead Hafiz, with chained hooves and paws.

Ghazal/Ode # 26 from Divan Hafiz Shirazi
~Translated by Shahriar Shahriari ~

I long to open up my heart
For my heart do my part.
My story was yesterday’s news
From rivals cannot keep apart.
On this holy night stay with me
Till the morning, do not depart.
On a night so dark as this,
My course, how can I chart?
O breath of life, help me tonight
That in the morn I make a start.
In my love for you, I will
My self and ego thwart.
Like Hafiz, being love smart;
I long to master that art.

Ghazal/Ode # 183 from Divan Hafiz Shirazi
~Translated by Shahriar Shahriari ~

Last night I dreamed that angels stood without
The tavern door, and knocked in vain, and wept;
They took the clay of Adam, and, methought,
Moulded a cup there with while all men slept.
Oh dwellers in the halls of Chastity!
You brought Love’s passionate red wine to me,
Down to the dust I am, your bright feet stept.
For Heaven’s self was all too weak, to bear
The burden of His love God laid on it,
He turned to seek a messenger elsewhere,
And in the Book of Fate my name was writ.
Between my Lord and me such concord lies.
As makes the Huris glad in Paradise,
With songs of praise through the green glades they flit.
A hundred dreams of Fancy’s garnered store
Assail me — Father Adam went astray
Tempted by one poor grain of corn! Wherefore
Absolve and pardon him that turns away
Though the soft breath of Truth reaches his ears,
For two-and-seventy Jangling creeds he hears,
And loud-voiced Fable calls him ceaselessly.
That, that is not the flame of Love’s true fire
Which makes the torchlight shadows dance in rings,
But where the radiance draws the moth’s desire
And send him forth with scorched and drooping wings.
The heart of one who dwells retired shall break,
Rememb’ring a black mole and a red cheek,
And his life ebb, sapped at its secret springs.
Yet since the earliest time that man has sought
To comb the locks of Speech, his goodly bride,
Not one, like Hafiz, from the face of Thought
Has torn the veil of Ignorance aside.

Ghazal/Ode # 164 from Divan Hafiz Shirazi
~Translated by Shahriar Shahriari ~

Morning breeze, its fragrance will exhale
The old world will once again youthfully sail.
Tulip will bring a red cup to the meadows
Narcissus' eyes from poppy will grow pale.
When would nightingale put up with such abuse
In the chamber of the rose cry and wail.
I traded the temple for the tavern, fault me not
Prayer is long and stale, time is frail.
Leave not joy of the now till the morrow
Who can vouch that the morrow, the now shall trail?
Month of Sha'aban put not down the jug of wine
Till the end of Ramadan you'll miss this Holy Grail.
Hold dear all the flowers and commune
Came to be and will whither with a breeze or a gale.
This feast is for friends, O minstrel, play and sing
Sing again, it came thus and went thus, to what avail?
Hafez, for your sake, entered this tale
Walk with him, say farewell, he'll tear the veil.

Ghazal/Ode # 355 from Divan Hafiz Shirazi
~Translated by A.J. Alston~

The only wise course for me now
Is to depart bag and baggage for the tavern
And sit there happily.

I must grasp the wine-cup
And avoid the society of the hypocrites;
I must wash my heart clean
Of all contact with worldlings.

Let me have no friends or companions
But a wine-flask and a book,
That I may avoid all association
With the deceitful denizens of the world.

If I lift my skirt above the dust of the world
I shall tower above all in total independence,
Like a lofty cypress.

When I see the face of the cup-bearer
And the glowing wine
I feel ashamed that I once boasted of piety
And the soiled habit of a monk.

My narrow frame is not equal to the weight
Of the burden of grief at his absence;
My poor heart cannot support such a load.

Take me for a reveller in the wine-house
Or an ascetic of the city --
I am only the wares you see, or worse.

I am the servant of the Asaf of the age;
Do not vex my heart,
For if I breathe a word of complaint
He will call down the vengeance of heaven.

The dust of maltreatment
Lies upon my heart;
God forbid that it should contaminate
This mirror brimming with love.

Ghazal/Ode # 34 from Divan Hafiz Shirazi
~Translated by A.J. Arberry~

Come, let us pass this pathway o'er
That to the tavern leads; 
There waits the wine, and there the door
That every traveller needs. 

On that first day, when we did sweat
To tipple and to kiss, 
It was our oath, that we would fare
No other way but this. 

Where Jamshid's crown and royal throne
Go sweeping down the wind,
'Tis little comfort we should moan:
In wine is joy to find. 

Because we hope that we may bring
Her waist to our embrace,
Lo, in our life-blood issuing
We linger in this place. 

Preacher, our frenzy is complete:
Waste not thy sage advice;--
We stand in the Beloved's street,
And seek not Paradise. 

Let Sufis wheel in mystic dance
And shout for ecstasy; 
We, too, have our exuberance,
We, too, ecstatics be.

The earth with pearls and rubies gleams
Where thou hast poured thy wine;
Less than the dust are we, it seems,
Beneath thy foot divine.

Hafiz, since we may never soar,
To ramparts of the sky,
Here at the threshold of this door

Forever let us lie.

Ghazal/Ode # 199 from Divan Hafiz Shirazi
~Trans. by Peter Avery & John Heath-Stubbs~

WHAT good in being a solitary, secret drinker ?
We're all drunkards together-let's leave it at that. 

Unravel the heart's tangles, and leave the spheres alone
You won't solve Fate's paradox by parallax. 

Don't be surprised at Fortune's turns and twists:
That wheel has spun a thousand yarns before. 

Respect the cup you hold--the clay it's made from
Was the skulls of buried kings--Bahman or Kobad. 

For who can tell where Kai or Kaus are now,
Or Jamshid's throne, gone on a puff of wind? 

Farhad dropped tears of blood for Shirin's lips,
And still I see the tulip blossoming there. 

I think the tulip knows how Fortune cheats,
So clasps a petalled wine-glass till it fades. 

Come, let's get drunk, even if it is our ruin
For sometimes under ruins one finds treasure. 

The breeze of Musalla, the waters of Ruknabad,
They keep me still from wandering far from home. 

Like Hafiz, drink your wine to the sound of harp-strings
For the heart's joy is strung on a strand of silk. 

Ghazal/Ode # 38 from Divan Hafiz Shirazi
~Translated by Gertrude Bell~

I CEASE not from desire till my desire
Is satisfied; or let my mouth attain
My love's red mouth, or let my soul expire,
Sighed from those lips that sought her lips in vain.
Others may find another love as fair;
Upon her threshold I have laid my head,
The dust shall cover me, still lying there,
When from my body life and love have fled.

My soul is on my lips ready to fly,
But grief beats in my heart and will not cease,
Because not once, not once before I die,
Will her sweet lips give all my longing peace.
My breath is narrowed down to one long sigh
For a red mouth that burns my thoughts like fire;
When will that mouth draw near and make reply
To one whose life is straitened with desire?

When I am dead, open my grave and see
The cloud of smoke that rises round thy feet:
In my dead heart the fire still burns for thee;
Yea, the smoke rises from my winding-sheet!
Ah, come, Beloved! for the meadows wait
Thy coming, and the thorn bears flowers instead
Of thorns, the cypress fruit, and desolate
Bare winter from before thy steps has fled.

Hoping within some garden ground to find
A red rose soft and sweet as thy soft cheek,
Through every meadow blows the western wind,
Through every garden he is fain to seek.
Reveal thy face! that the whole world may be
Bewildered by thy radiant loveliness;
The cry of man and woman comes to thee,
Open thy lips and comfort their distress!

Each curling lock of thy luxuriant hair
Breaks into barbed hooks to catch my heart,
My broken heart is wounded everywhere
With countless wounds from which the red drops start.
Yet when sad lovers meet and tell their sighs,
Not without praise shall Hafiz' name be said,
Not without tears, in those pale companies
Where joy has been forgot and hope has fled.

Ghazal/Ode # 31 from Divan Hafiz Shirazi
~Translated by Elizabeth Gray~

Preachers who display their piety in prayer and pulpit
behave differently when they're alone. 

It puzzles me. Ask the learned ones of the assembly:
"Why do those who demand repentance do so little of it?" 

It's as if they don't believe in the Day of Judgment
with all this fraud and counterfeit they do in His name. 

I am the slave of the tavern-master, whose dervishes,
in needing nothing, make treasure seem like dust. 

O lord, put these nouveaux-riches back on their asses
because they flaunt their mules and Turkic slaves. 

O angel, say praises at the door of love's tavern,
for inside they ferment the essence of Adam. 

Whenever his limitless beauty kills a lover
others spring up, with love, from the invisible world. 

O beggar at the cloister door, come to the monastery of the Magi,
for the water they give makes hearts rich. 

Empty your house, O heart, so that it may become home to the beloved,
for the heart of the shallow ones is an army camp. 

At dawn a clamor came from the throne of heaven.
Reason said, "It seems the angels are memorizing Hafiz's verse."

Ghazal/Ode # 355 from Divan Hafiz Shirazi
~Translated by Abbas Aryanpur Kashani~

Joseph will come back to Canaan again, 
My house the fragrance of her rose-garden will regain.

O sad heart, from hardships do not get mad,
Your worries will soon end- don't feel so sad.

If the Spring on turf-throne would remain,
The bird under flower-canopy sits again.

If the world turns to your favor some days,
Take it easy; it won't do so always.

If God's secrets are unknown don't despair.
Behind the mystery-curtain is a love-affair.

O Heart, if death-flood sweeps off all life,
Your pilot as Noah, ends your strife.

When through desert you pass for pilgrimage,
If thorns bother your feet, don't be in rage.

The road 's perilous and destination away.
Yet all roads have their ends, I daresay.

Enemies oppose me in absence of friend,
God knows that on Him I only depend.

Hafiz, the dark, lonely nights never mind, 
Study and pray- thus salvation you find.

Ghazal/Ode # 352 from Divan Hafiz Shirazi
~Translated by Paul Smith~

May none be shattered like me by the woes of separation;
My life has passed by wasted by the throes of separation. 

Exited stranger, lover, heartsick beggar, mind bewildered;
I've shouldered brunt of Fortune and blows of separation. 

If ever separation should fall into my hand I will kill it;
With tears, in blood, I will pay all the dues of separation. 

Where to go, what to do, who to tell my heart's state to?
Who gives justice, who pays out, for those of separation? 

From the pain of separation not a moment's peace is mine;
For the sake of God, be just, give the dues of separation. 

By separation from Your Presence I'll make separation sick,
Until the heart's blood flows from the eyes of separation. 

From where am I and from where are separation and grief?
Seems my mother bore me for grief that grows of separation. 

Therefore, at day and at night, branded by love, like Hafiz,
With nightingales of dawn, I cry songs, woes of separation.

Would You Think It Odd?

Would you think it odd if Hafiz said,
I am in love with every Church
And mosque and Temple
And any kind of Shrine
Because I know it is there
That the people say the different names
Of the One Love.
Would you tell your friends
I was a bit strange if I admitted
I am indeed in love with every mind
And heart and body.
Because I know
That it is through these
That you search for Love.
~Hafiz ~Translated by Daniel Ladinsky~

I Have Learned so Much

I have learned so much from Love
That I can no longer call myself
a Christian, a Hindu, a Muslim, a Buddhist, or a Jew.
The Truth has shared so much of Itself with me
That I can no longer call myself
a man, a woman, an angel, or even a pure soul.
Love has befriended Hafiz so completely.
It has turned to ash and freed me
Of every concept and image my mind has ever known.
~Hafiz ~Translated by Daniel Ladinsky~

What Happens?

What happens when your soul
Begins to awaken your eyes
And your heart
And the cells of your body
To the great Journey of Love?
First there is wonderful laughter
And probably precious tears
And a hundred sweet promises
And those heroic vows
No one can ever keep.
But still God is delighted and amused
You once tried to be a saint.
What happens when your soul
Begins to awake in this world
To our deep need to love
And serve the Friend?
O' the Beloved 
Will send you
One of His wonderful, wild companions 
Like Hafiz.
~Hafiz ~Translated by Daniel Ladinsky~

What Should We Do about that Moon ?

A wine bottle fell from a wagon

And broke open in a field.
That night hundred beetles and all their cousins
And did some serious binge drinking.
They even found some seed husks nearby
And began to play them like drums and whirl.
This made God very happy.
Then the 'night candle' rose into the sky
And one drunk creature, laying down his instrument
Said to his friend - for no apparent 
"What should we do about that moon?"
Seems to Hafiz
Most everyone has laid aside the music
Tackling such profoundly useless
~Hafiz ~Translated by Daniel Ladinsky~

That sounds wonderful...

Good poetry

Makes a beautiful naked woman
Materialize from
Who then says,
With a sword precariously waving
In her hands,
"If you look at my loins
I will cut off your head,
And reach down and grab your spirit
By its private parts,
And carry you off to heaven
Squealing in joy."
Hafiz says,
"That sounds wonderful, just
Someone please - start writing
Some great Lines."
~Hafiz ~Translated by Daniel Ladinsky~

A Suspended Blue Ocean

The sky

Is a suspended blue ocean.

The stars are the fish

That swim.

The planets are the white whales

I sometimes hitch a ride on,

And the sun and all light

Have forever fused themselves

Into my heart and upon

My skin.

There is only one rule

On this Wild Playground,

For every sign Hafiz has ever seen

Reads the same.

They all say,

"Have fun, my dear; my dear, have fun,

In the Beloved's Divine Game,

O, in the Beloved's

Wonderful Game."
~Hafiz ~Translated by Daniel Ladinsky~

Laughing at the Word Two

That Illumined One
Who keeps
Seducing the formless into form
Had the charm to win my Heart.
Only a Perfect One
Who is always
Laughing at the word two
Can make you know
Of Love.
~Hafiz ~Translated by Daniel Ladinsky~

Now is the Time

Now is the time to know
That all that you do is sacred.
Now, why not consider
A lasting truce with yourself and Love.
Now is the time to understand
That all your ideas of right and wrong
Were just a child's training wheels
To be laid aside
When you finally live
With veracity
And love.
Hafiz is a divine envoy
Whom the Beloved
Has written a holy message upon.
My dear, please tell me,
Why do you still
Throw sticks at your heart
And Love?
What is it in that sweet voice inside
That incites you to fear?
Now is the time for the world to know
That every thought and action is sacred.
This is the time for you to compute the impossibility
That there is anything
But Grace.
Now is the season to know
That everything you do
Is sacred.
~Hafiz ~Translated by Daniel Ladinsky~

You Don't Have to Act Crazy Anymore

You Don't Have to Act Crazy Anymore -
We all know you were good at that.
Now retire, my dear,
From all that hard work you do
Of bringing pain to your sweet eyes and heart.
Look in a clear mountain mirror -
See the Beautiful Ancient Warrior
And the Divine elements
You always carry inside
That infused this Universe with sacred Life
So long ago
And join you Eternally
With all Existence - with Love!
~Hafiz ~Translated by Daniel Ladinsky~

I know the Way You Can Get

I know the way you can get

When you have not had a drink of Love:
Your face hardens,
Your sweet muscles cramp.
Children become concerned
About a strange look that appears in your eyes
Which even begins to worry your own mirror
And nose.
Squirrels and birds sense your sadness
And call an important conference in a tall tree.
They decide which secret code to chant
To help your mind and soul.
Even angels fear that brand of madness
That arrays itself against the world
And throws sharp stones and spears into
The innocent
And into one's self.
O I know the way you can get
If you have not been drinking Love:
You might rip apart
Every sentence your friends and teachers say,
Looking for hidden clauses.
You might weigh every word on a scale
Like a dead fish.
You might pull out a ruler to measure
From every angle in your darkness
The beautiful dimensions of a heart you once
I know the way you can get
If you have not had a drink from Love's
That is why all the Great Ones speak of
The vital need
To keep remembering God,
So you will come to know and see Him
As being so Playful
And Wanting,
Just Wanting to help.
That is why Hafiz says:
Bring your cup near me.
For I am a Sweet Old Vagabond
With an Infinite Leaking Barrel
Of Light and Laughter and Truth
That the Beloved has tied to my back.
Dear one,
Indeed, please bring your heart near me.
For all I care about
Is quenching your thirst for freedom!
All a Sane man can ever care about
Is giving Love!
~Hafiz ~Translated by Daniel Ladinsky~

I Will Hire You as a Minstrel

Take one of my tears,

Throw it into the ocean

And watch the salt in the wounds

Of this earth and men begin to disappear.

Take one of my tears

And cradle it in your palm.

Mount a great white camel

And carry my love into every desert,

Paying homage to every Prophet

Who has ever walked in our world.

O take one of my tears

And stop weeping only for sadness,

For there is so much More to this life

Than you now understand.

Take one of my tears

And become like the Happy One,

O like the Happy One --

Who now lives Forever

Within me.

When a drop from my Emerald Sea

Touches your soul's mouth,

It will dissolve everything but your Joy

And an Eternal Wonder.


The Beloved will gladly hire you
As His minstrel
To go traveling about this world,
Letting everyone upon this earth
The Beautiful Names of God
Resound in a thousand chords!
Hafiz himself is singing tonight
In Resplendent Glory,
For the cup in my heart
Has revealed the Beloved's Face,
And I have His oath in writing
That He will never again depart.
0 Hafiz, take one of your tears,
For you are weeping like a golden candle-
Throw one tear into the Ocean of your own verse
And let the wounds
Of every lover of God who kneels in prayer
And comes close to your words
Begin, right now,
To disappear.
~Hafiz ~Translated by Daniel Ladinsky~

The Happy Virus

I caught the happy virus last night

When I was out singing beneath the stars.
It is remarkably contagious -
So kiss me!
~Hafiz ~Translated by Daniel Ladinsky~

All the Hemispheres

Leave the familiar for a while.
Let your senses and bodies stretch out
Like a welcomed season
Onto the meadow and shores and hills.
Open up to the Roof.
Make a new watermark on your excitement
And love.
Like a blooming night flower,
Bestow your vital fragrance of happiness
And giving
Upon our intimate assembly.
Change rooms in your mind for a day.
All the hemispheres in existence
Lie beside an equator
In your heart.
Greet Yourself
In your thousand other forms
As you mount the hidden tide and travel
Back home.
All the hemispheres in heaven
Are sitting around a fire
While stitching themselves together
Into the Great Circle inside of
~Hafiz ~Translated by Daniel Ladinsky~


It Felt Love

Did the rose
Ever open its heart
And give to this world
All its
It felt the encouragement of light
Against its
We all remain
~Hafiz ~Translated by Daniel Ladinsky~

The Day Sky

Let us be like
Two falling stars in the day sky.
Let no one know of our sublime beauty
As we hold hands with God
And burn
Into a sacred existence that defies -
That surpasses
Every description of ecstasy
And love.
~Hafiz ~Translated by Daniel Ladinsky~

Faithful Lover

The moon came to me last night
With a sweet question.
She said,
"The sun has been my faithful lover
For millions of years.
Whenever I offer my body to him
Brilliant light pours from his heart.
Thousands then notice my happiness
And delight in pointing
Toward my beauty.
Is it true that our destiny
Is to turn into Light
And I replied,
Dear moon,
Now that your love is maturing,
We need to sit together
Close like this more often
So I might instruct you
How to become
Who you
~Hafiz ~Translated by Daniel Ladinsky~

The Subject Tonight is Love

The subject tonight is Love
And for tomorrow night as well,
As a matter of fact
I know of no better topic
For us to discuss
Until we all
~Hafiz ~Translated by Daniel Ladinsky~

At This Party

I don't want to be the only one here
Telling all the secrets -
Filling up all the bowls at this party,
Taking all the laughs.
I would like you
To start putting things on the table
That can also feed the soul
The way I do.
That way
We can invite
A hell of a lot more
~Hafiz ~Translated by Daniel Ladinsky~

Becoming Human

Once a man came to me and spoke for hours about
"His great visions of God" he felt he was having.
He asked me for confirmation, saying,
"Are these wondrous dreams true?"
I replied, "How many goats do you have?"
He looked surprised and said,
"I am speaking of sublime visions
And you ask
About goats!"
And I spoke again saying,
"Yes, brother - how many do you have?"
"Well, Hafiz, I have sixty-two."
"And how many wives?"
Again he looked surprised, then said,
"How many rose bushes in your garden,
How many children,
Are your parents still alive,
Do you feed the birds in winter?"
And to all he answered.
Then I said,
"You asked me if I thought your visions were true,
I would say that they were if they make you become
More human,
More kind to every creature and plant
That you know."
~Hafiz ~Translated by Daniel Ladinsky~

A Great Need

Of a great need
We are all holding hands
And climbing.
Not loving is a letting go.
The terrain around here
Far too
~Hafiz ~Translated by Daniel Ladinsky~

Why Abstain?

Abstain from love
When like the beautiful snow goose
Someday your soul
Will leave this summer
Abstain from happiness
When like a skilled lion
Your heart is
Will someday see
The divine prey is
~Hafiz ~Translated by Daniel Ladinsky~

Buttering the Sky

On my shoes,
Boiling water,
Toasting bread,
Buttering the sky:
That should be enough contact
With God in one day
To make anyone
~Hafiz ~Translated by Daniel Ladinsky~

An Astronomical Question

Happen if God leaned down
And gave you a full wet
Doesn't mind answering astronomical questions
Like that:
You would surely start
Reciting all day, inebriated,
~Hafiz ~Translated by Daniel Ladinsky~

Why Not Be Polite?

Is God speaking.
Why not be polite and
Listen to
~Hafiz ~Translated by Daniel Ladinsky~

Find A Better Job

All your worry
Has proved such an
Find a better
~Hafiz ~Translated by Daniel Ladinsky~

And For No Reason

For no reason
I start skipping like a child.
For no reason
I turn into a leaf
That is carried so high
I kiss the Sun's mouth
And dissolve.
For no reason
A thousand birds
Choose my head for a conference table,
Start passing their
Cups of wine
And their wild songbooks all around.
For every reason in existence
I begin to eternally,
To eternally laugh and love!
When I turn into a leaf
And start dancing,
I run to kiss our beautiful Friend
And I dissolve in the Truth
That I Am.
~Hafiz ~Translated by Daniel Ladinsky~

Dropping Keys

The small man
Builds cages for everyone
While the sage,
Who has to duck his head
When the moon is low,
Keeps dropping keys all night long
For the
~Hafiz ~Translated by Daniel Ladinsky~


Is not easy
To stop thinking ill
Of others.
Usually one must enter into a friendship
With a person
Who has accomplished that great feat himself.
Might start to rub off on you
Of that
~Hafiz ~Translated by Daniel Ladinsky~

If You Don't Stop That

I used to live in
A cramped house with confusion
And pain.
But then I met the Friend
And started getting drunk
And singing all
Confusion and Pain
Started acting nasty,
Making threats,
With talk like this,
"If you don't stop 'that' -
All that fun -
~Hafiz ~Translated by Daniel Ladinsky~

Damn Thirsty

The fish needs to say,
"Something ain't right about this
Camel ride -
And I'm
Feeling so damn
~Hafiz ~Translated by Daniel Ladinsky~

These Beautiful Love Games

Young lovers wisely say,
"Let's try it from this angle,
Maybe something marvelous will happen,
Maybe three suns and two moons
Will roll out
From a hiding place in the body
Our passion has yet to ignite."
Old lovers say,
"We can do it one more time,
How about from this longitude
And latitude -
Swinging from a rope tied to the ceiling,
Maybe a part of God
Is still hiding in a corner of your heart
Our devotion has yet to reveal."
Bottom line:
Do not stop playing
These beautiful
~Hafiz ~Translated by Daniel Ladinsky~

I Want Both Of Us

I want both of us
To start talking about this great love
As if you, I, and the Sun were all married
And living in a tiny room,
Helping each other to cook,
Do the wash,
Weave and sew,
Care for our beautiful
We all leave each morning
To labor on the earth's field.
No one does not lift a great pack.
I want both of us to start singing like two
Travelling minstrels
About this extraordinary existence
We share,
As if
You, I, and God were all married
And living in
A tiny
~Hafiz ~Translated by Daniel Ladinsky~

Like Passionate Lips

There are
So many positions of
Each curve on a branch,
the thousand different ways
Your eyes can embrace us,
The infinite shapes your
Mind can draw,
The spring
Orchestra of scents,
The currents of light combustion
Like passionate lips,
The revolution of Existence's skirt
Whose folds contain other worlds,
Your every sign that falls against
His inconceivable
~Hafiz ~Translated by Daniel Ladinsky~

Imagination Does Not Exist

You should come close to me tonight wayfarer
For I will be celebrating you.
Your beauty still causes me madness,
Keeps the neighbors complaining
When I start shouting in the middle of the night
Because I can't bear all this joy.
I will be giving birth to suns.
I will be holding forests upside down
Gently shaking soft animals from trees and burrows
Into my lap.
What you conceive as imagination
Does not exist for me.
Whatever you can do in a dream
Or on your mind-canvas
My hands can pull - alive - from my coat pocket.
But let's not talk about my divine world.
For what I most want to know
Tonight is:
All about
~Hafiz ~Translated by Daniel Ladinsky~

I Got Kin

So that your own heart
Will grow.
So God will think,
I got kin in that body!
I should start inviting that soul over
For coffee and
Because this is a food
Our starving world
Because that is the purest
~Hafiz ~Translated by Daniel Ladinsky~

The Secret

I need a drink, wine maiden, that cup with grape stain lined,

for love that once seemed pleasing has burdened down my mind.
Ah smell how West Wind wafts her musk through the tavern door;
now feel our pumping hearts beat fast, watch our fears unwind.
Why do we who visit love think we'd stay forever?
We know the yearn to wander will always lovers find.
So we asked the Elder: What law makes love bring pain?
Sobriety, he laughed, you'll feel better when you're wined.
Your plight cannot be aided by that dull fear to risk
the toss and turn of love's dark storm upon the ocean blind.
See clear in all these gathered friends who still hold you dear
love's secret is that you must love without desires that bind.
Hafez, enjoy the one you love, drink deep and embrace;
seek not with her to please your world, just give love and be kind.
~Hafiz ~Trans. by Haleh Pourafzal & Roger Montgomery

A Brimming Cup of Wine

A FLOWER-TINTED cheek, the flowery close

Of the fair earth, these are enough for me
Enough that in the meadow wanes and grows
The shadow of a graceful cypress-tree.
I am no lover of hypocrisy;
Of all the treasures that the earth can boast,
A brimming cup of wine I prize the most--
This is enough for me!

To them that here renowned for virtue live,

A heavenly palace is the meet reward;
To me, the drunkard and the beggar, give
The temple of the grape with red wine stored!
Beside a river seat thee on the sward;
It floweth past-so flows thy life away,
So sweetly, swiftly, fleets our little day--
Swift, but enough for me!

Look upon all the gold in the world's mart,

On all the tears the world hath shed in vain
Shall they not satisfy thy craving heart?
I have enough of loss, enough of gain;
I have my Love, what more can I obtain?
Mine is the joy of her companionship
Whose healing lip is laid upon my lip--
This is enough for me!

I pray thee send not forth my naked soul

From its poor house to seek for Paradise
Though heaven and earth before me God unroll,
Back to thy village still my spirit flies.
And, Hafiz, at the door of Kismet lies
No just complaint-a mind like water clear,
A song that swells and dies upon the ear,
These are enough for thee!
~Hafiz ~Translated by Gertrude Lowthian Bell

Last Night's Storm

Last night's storm was a journey to the Beloved.
I surrender to that, the wind that
is my Friend, and my work.
Each night, the lightning flashes.
Every morning, a breeze.
Not in some protected place, but in the flood
of the heart's pumping, in the wind
of a rosebud's opening out,
that puts a small crown on each narcissus.
A tired hand collapses, exhausted,
that in the morning holds your hair again.
Peace comes when we are friends together,
remembering. Hafiz! Your honest desire
and your benevolence free the soul
to emerge as what it is.
~Hafiz ~Trans. by Inayat Khan & Coleman Barks

The Danger

Love seems easy in a circle of friends,
But it's difficult, difficult.
Morning air through the window, the taste of it,
with every moment camel bells leaving the caravansary.
This is how we wake, with wine-spills
On the prayer rug, and even the tavern-master
is loading up. My life has gone
From willfulness to disrepute,
And I won't conceal, either, the joy
That led me out toward laughter.
Mountainous ocean, a moon hidden behind clouds,
The terror of being drawn under.
How can someone with a light shoulder-pack
Walking the beach know how a night sea-journey is?
Hafiz! Stay in the dangerous life that's yours.
There you'll meet the face
That dissolves fear.
~Hafiz ~Trans. by Inayat Khan & Coleman Barks

Fair Wind, Be Kind

Fair wind, be kind - 

Tell that lovely gazelle who it was 
That made me wander distraught 
Across desert sands and mountain cliffs.

The seller of sweets, 

May she have long life - 
Why is she not generous 
To this parrot longing for honey? 

Oh flower, 

Is it your proud nature 
That keeps you aloof 
From the bird dancing around you? 

It is the beauty of one's nature 

That nets the seekers. 
Ropes and cages never trap 
The wary bird. 

How is it that those tall beauties, 

With black eyes shining 
From faces of moonlike radiance -
Pass me by? 

How can your face show such beauty, 

While here in Earth 
You are the image 
Of inconstancy and faithlessness? 

Hafiz - 

Your sayings draw melodies 
From the stars 
And set even the son of Mary to dance.

While you keep the company of the enlightened 

And quaff the mystic wine, 
Forget not those, who sail upon the heavens 
As birds glide upon the wind. 
~Hafiz ~Trans. by Parham Noori-Esfandiari & Alan Dean Ild

Don't Despair...

Joseph to his father in Canaan shall return,
don't despair walk on;
and Jacob's hut will brighten with flowers,
don't despair walk on.
Aching hearts heal in time, vanished hopes reappear,
the disparate mind will be pacified,
don't despair walk on.
As the spring of life grows the newly green meadow,
roses will crown the sweet nightingale's song,
don't despair walk on
If the world does not turn to your whims these few days,
cosmic cycles are preparing to change,
don't despair walk on.
If desperation whispers you'll never know God,
it's the talk of hidden games in the veil,
don't despair walk on.
O heart, when the vast flood slashes life to its roots,
Captain Noah waits to steer you ashore, don't despair walk on.
If you trek as a pilgrim through sands to Kaaba
with thorns lodged deep in your soul shouting why,
don't despair walk on
Though oases hide dangers and your destiny's far,
there's no pathway that goes on forever,
don't despair walk on.
My trials and enemies face me on their own,
but mystery always backs up my stand,
don't despair walk on.
Hafiz, weakened by poverty, alone in the dark,
this night is your pathway into the light,
don't despair walk on.
~Hafiz ~Trans. by Haleh Pourafzal & Roger Montgomery

"The DIVAN-I HAFIZ is a complete verbatim translation of all of Hafiz's ghazals, rubaiyats, qita'at, masnavi, the saqinameh, the moghaninameh, qasaid, and mokhamas. It includes a biography of the poet, description of other translations, index of the personages in the poems, index of the figures of speech used, and copious notes on practically every line in the poems based on Sudi's well known Turkish commentary. This new edition includes a new introduction by Michael C Hillmann, a Hafiz scholar, which surveys: other English translations, Wilberforce-Clarke's translation, the life of Hafiz and the historical and literary characteristics of the ghazal. Also added to this new edition is a table which gives the correspondence between the numbers given to the poems in Clarke's translation and the recent Persian language editions of the divan of Khanlari and of Ghazvini and Ghani. Also added to this new edition is a table matching the English translations with the original Persian in the editions Ghazvini and Ghani and of Khanlari. Clarke's word for word translation and its copious notes explaining almost everything make it very suitable for the English speaking student of Hafiz who is attempting to learn the Persian. The DIVAN-I HAFIZ has been used extensively by later translators of Hafiz. The collection includes 693 translations."

700 Pages

Farsi with English translations

Farsi with English translations

"Hafiz is known throughout the world as Persia's greatest poet, with sales of his poems in Iran today only surpassed by those of the Qur'an itself. His probing and joyful verse speaks to people from all backgrounds who long to taste and feel divine love and experience harmony with all living things.
This beautiful sampling of Hafiz's works captures his deep spiritual understanding, offering a glimpse into the vision that has inspired people around the world for centuries. Considered by his contemporaries as an oracle and often referred to as "Tongue of the Hidden" and "Interpreter of Secrets," Hafiz followed Sufism's inner path on a quest to discover the hidden meaning of the universe, and shares his experiences and desire for union with the Divine in symbolic language that borders on magical.

Infused with the spirit of love and joy, this unique collection offers insight into Hafiz's spiritual philosophy and carefree mysticism that addresses the earthly beauty, pain, ecstasy, and longing that define human nature, and the divine adoration that promises to set the spirit free."

"After six hundred years, the Persian lyrical poet Hafiz (d. 1389) still remains the most popular poet in Iran, Afghanistan, Tajikistan and other parts of Central Asia where Persian is spoken today as the mother tongue. The tradition known as the ‘Religion of Love’ (madhhab-i ‘ishq), which pervaded Persian literature from its inception, was best expressed in the verse of Hafiz, the supreme master of the classical Persian love-lyric (ghazal). In a series of original essays focused on this high romantic tradition that sustained Hafiz’s rhetoric of romance, an international roster of specialists reveal how the poet’s erotic theology partook of a single culture and civilization that was devoted to Eros in medieval Persia. This volume is not only the first study to date of the philosophical, theological and mystical bases of Hafiz’s erotic spirituality, but the most comprehensive introduction into the poet’s romantic philosophy, literary tradition, poetry and biography yet published in any European language. The work will appeal to students of Persian poetry, Islamic philosophy, Sufism, and Middle Eastern Studies as well as the wider audience interested in comparative poetics, Eastern literature and spirituality, medieval romance and the philosophy of love.

Hafiz and the Religion of Love in Classical Persian Poetry is the most comprehensive introduction to Hafiz’s romantic philosophy, literary tradition, poetry and biography yet published in any European language."

"More than any other Persian poet—even Rumi—Hafiz expanded the mystical, healing dimensions of poetry. Because his poems were often ecstatic love songs from God to his beloved world, many have called Hafiz the "Invisible Tongue." 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.

I am
a hole in a flute
that the Christ's breath moves
listen to this

With this stunning collection of Hafiz's most intimate poems, Ladinsky has succeeded brilliantly in presenting the essence of one of Islam's greatest poetic and religious voices. Each line of The Gift imparts the wonderful qualities of this master Sufi poet and spiritual teacher: encouragement, an audacious love that touches lives, profound knowledge, generosity, and a sweet, playful genius unparalleled in world literature.

To Persians, the fourteenth-century poems of Hafiz are not classical literature from a remote past, but cherished love, wisdom, and humor from a dear and intimate friend. Perhaps, more than any other Persian poet, it is Hafiz who most fully accesses the mystical, healing dimensions of poetry. Daniel Ladinsky has made it his life's work to create modern, inspired translations of the world's most profound spiritual poetry. Through Ladinsky's translations, Hafiz's voice comes alive across the centuries singing his message of love."

The Subject Tonight is Love: 60 Wild and Sweet Poems of Hafiz

"To Persians, the fourteenth-century poems of Hafiz are not classical literature from a remote past, but cherished love, wisdom, and humor from a dear and intimate friend. Perhaps, more than any other Persian poet, it is Hafiz who most fully accesses the mystical, healing dimensions of poetry. Daniel Ladinsky has made it his life's work to create modern, inspired translations of the world's most profound spiritual poetry. Through Ladinsky's translations, Hafiz's voice comes alive across the centuries singing his message of love."

"Daniel Ladinsky’s stunning interpretations of 365 soul-nurturing poems—one for each day of the year—by treasured Persian lyric poet Hafiz. The poems of Hafiz are masterpieces of sacred poetry that nurture the heart, soul, and mind. With learned insight and a delicate hand, Daniel Ladinsky explores the many emotions addressed in these verses. His renderings, presented here in 365 poignant poems—including a section based on the translations of Hafiz by Ralph Waldo Emerson—capture the compelling wisdom of one of the most revered Sufi poets. Intimate and often spiritual, these poems are beautifully sensuous, playful, wacky, and profound, and provide guidance for everyday life, as well as deep wisdom to savor through a lifetime."

I Heard God Laughing: Poems of Hope and Joy by Hafiz

"To Persians , the poems of Hafiz are not "classical literature" from a remote past but cherished wisdom from a dear and intimate friend that continue to be quoted in daily life. With uncanny insight, Hafiz captures the many forms and stages of love. His poetry outlines the stages of the mystic's "path of love"-a journey in which love dissolves personal boundaries and limitations to join larger processes of growth and transformation. With this stunning collection, Ladinsky has succeeded brilliantly in translating the essence of one of Islam's greatest poetic and spiritual voices.'

New Nightingale, New Rose - Poems from Divan of Hafiz 

"Hafiz of Shiraz is considered as the greatest Persian poets. Writing in the fourteenth century, his poems were collected as the Divan of Hafiz. The ghazals of Hafiz are erotic yet spiritual, both sensual and symbolic. Full of images of wine and the tavern, of the Beloved, of nightingales and roses, the poems of Hafiz have been regularly translated into English since the end of the eighteenth century. This new edition of Richard Le Gallienne’s moving and poetic translation finally brings one of the most popular versions of Hafiz back into print."

https://www.box.com/s/mp3meafyvt0bb4vhyncfFifty Poems of Hafiz -translated by Arberry

"Hāfiz, the greatest lyric poet of Persia, was first introduced to English readers in the translation by Sir William Jones in the latter half of the eighteenth century. The present selection (fifty poems, with their English poetical versions by fourteen different hands) has the double object of exhibiting the various aspects of Hāfiz' style and thought, and of representing how English scholars have attempted to render his poetry in their own language. Professor Arberry writes a long introduction, biographical and critical, suggesting fresh approaches to the study and some lines along which future research might with advantage be directed. The fifty Persian texts are printed first; these are followed by the English translations, and these again by the editor's notes on the texts."

The Rubaiyat /Quatrains of Hafiz

Every flower its beauty bestows, 
Your lips the dearest gems dispose, 
May your lips nurture our souls, 
With the wine that every spirit knows. 
From the Rubaiyat of Hafiz 

"Better known by his nom de plume, Hafiz, Khwaja Shamsuddin Mohammad (1319-1389) is the most popular of the Persian poets; he acquired his surname from memorizing the Koran at an early age. A teacher of the Koran who associated with mystics, his lyrical poetry is acclaimed as the finest ever written in the Persian language. Among his works are the first-known examples of literary styles﷓the long rhyming poem, the couplet, and the rubaiyat, or the epic poem told in quatrains﷓that survive to this day. Contemporary Muslim critics translate his passionate verse as profound and lyrical in nature, while critics in the West are inclined to interpret his poems as challenging invectives. Hafiz influenced and was translated by, among others, Goethe and Emerson; literary scholars believe that Goethe's Westöstlicher Diwan (1819) was inspired by Hafiz. The poet is buried in a splendid tomb near Shiraz, Iran."

"Hafez Teachings of the Philosopher of Love is an exploration of the Persian poet’s spiritual philosophy, with original translations of his poetry. It features extensive insight into the meanings and contexts of the poetry and philosophies of this spiritual teacher. The book also lncludes over 30 complete poems by Hafez including “The Wild Deer,” often regarded as his masterpiece

For 600 years the Persian poet Hafez has been read, recited, quoted, and loved by millions of people in his homeland and throughout the world. Like his predecessor Rumi, he is a spiritual guide in our search for life’s essence. Hafez is both a mystic philosopher and a heartfelt poet of desires and fears.

Hafez Teachings of the Philosopher of Love is the perfect introduction to the man known as the philosopher of love, whose message of spiritual transcendence through rapture and service to others is especially important to our troubled world. His wisdom speaks directly to the cutting edge of philosophy, psychology, social theory, and education and can serve as a bridge of understanding between the West and the Middle East, two cultures in desperate need of mutual empathy."

"In the Persian tradition, whenever one faces a difficulty or a fork in the road, Or even if one has a general question in mind, one would hold that question in mind, and then ask the Oracle of Hafiz for guidance. More often than not, Hafiz, in his own enigmatic way would sing to the questioner and through the song, would get the questioner to look in the mirror of his/her soul. Upon reflection in the mirror of Hafiz's Ghazal/Ode one would be inspired with an answer, a guidance or a direction. Traditionally, the first line upon which the eyes of the reader fall, would give the answer to the direct question, and the rest of the Ghazal/Ode would give further clarification.


There are a number of methods of consulting the Divan of Hafiz for advice. The simplest and most popular is to think of the question or the wish, close the eyes and open the book. Whatever poem the eyes first set upon is the one that is read. For an answer that is more exact, the person who is consulting the Divan should use the same method but also place a finger on the page and whatever couplet it falls upon is Hafiz’s reply. The other couplets in the poem can then be read for a more detailed explanation if the situation calls for it."
~Courtesy of: Life & Poetry of Hafiz Shirazi

Click on image below to try the Oracle of Hafiz in English:

Me giving up drinking wine,
What kind of nonsense is that?!
I think I'm sober enough to handle some intoxication!

The devout Muslim preacher is busy 
Praying and begging for forgiveness
While I'm busy getting intoxicated and
Yearning for some more wine!
So tell me: Whose side are you on?!
Hafiz Shirazi ~ my translation

من و انکار شراب این چه حکایت باشد
غالبا این قدرم عقل و کفایت باشد
زاهد و عجب و نماز و من و مستی و نیاز
تا تو را خود ز میان با که عنایت باشد
حافظ شیرازی

O Sufi, come join us for a drink.
Our wine jar is so clear and spotless -
Like a shining mirror-
That you can see for yourself
The pure quality of its fine red wine.

Don't ask anyone else -
Except for intoxicated Sufi dervishes -
About the hidden secrets behind the veil.

Those high-profile and well-connected 
So called devout practicing Muslims,
They don't have even the slightest idea!
Hafiz Shirazi ~ my translation

صوفی بیا که آینه صافیست جام را
تا بنگری صفای مِی لَعل فام را
راز درون پرده زِ رندانِ مَست پرس
کاین حال نیست زاهدِ عالی مقام را
حافظ شیرازی

O you devout practicing Muslim,
Stop criticizing us, the pain-bearers, so harshly.
Pain is the only gift bestowed upon us
Ever since the first day of the Creation.

No matter if it's the fine wine of Paradise,
Or that cheap red wine of the Tavern,
Whatever He chooses to pour into our glasses,
We will gladly drink down every drop of it!
Hafiz Shirazi ~ my translation

برو ای زاهد و بر دردکشان خرده مگیر
که ندادند جز اين تحفه به ما روز الست
آن چـه او ریخت بـه پیمانـه ما نوشیدیم
هم اگر خم بهشت است و اگر باده ی پست
حافظ شیرازی

The true blessings of fasting and Hajj-Pilgrimage
Are bestowed upon those Muslim Pilgrims
Who make their long pilgrimage
To our tavern of love!

Listen to the tale of love by Hafiz,
And ignore the pious Muslim preacher,
Though he always uses
All sorts of fancy sermons!
Hafiz Shirazi ~ my translation

ثواب روزه و حج قبول آن کس برد
که خاک میکده عشق را زیارت کرد
حدیث عشق ز حافظ شنو نه از واعظ
اگر چه صنعت بسیار در عبارت کرد
 حافظ شیرازی

O you so called sin-free and pious Muslim,
Don't worry about the accumulated sins
Of the non-observant Sufi Dervishes!

On the Judgment Day, 
Their sins won't be counted against yours!

Whether I am good or bad,
You just mind your own business.
Whatever I'm sowing right now,
I shall be reaping at the end.

No matter if drunkards or sober ones,
Everyone is seeking the Friend (God).

No matter if a Mosque or a Synagogue,
Every House of Worship is the House of God.

O you over-preaching pious Muslim,
Don't try persuading me
Not to seek His eternal kindness.

Behind a thick veil,
How could you possibly tell
If there is a beauty or a beast?

It's not just me who's been turned away
From the Gates of Paradise,
My father, Adam was also expelled
From the eternal Garden of Eden!

O Hafiz,
On the Day of Resurrection
If you can get your hands
On a jar of fine red wine,
You'll be elevated straight to the Heaven
From this dark back alley of the tavern!
Hafiz Shirazi ~ my translation

عیب رندان مکن ای زاهد پاکیزه سرشت
که گناه دگران بر تو نخواهند نوشت
من اگر نیکم و گر بد تو برو خود را باش
هر کسی آن درود عاقبت کار که کشت
همه کس طالب یارند چه هشیار و چه مست
همه جا خانه عشق است چه مسجد چه کنشت
سر تسلیم من و خشت در میکده‌ها
مدعی گر نکند فهم سخن گو سر و خشت
ناامیدم مکن از سابقه لطف ازل
تو پس پرده چه دانی که که خوب است و که زشت
نه من از پرده تقوا به درافتادم و بس
پدرم نیز بهشت ابد از دست بهشت
حافظا روز اجل گر به کف آری جامی
یک سر از کوی خرابات برندت به بهشت
حافظ شیرازی

O you pious Muslim preacher,
What are you keep yelling for?
If my heart's gone out of its way,
What is it to you?
Mind your own business!

Even if this love intoxication 
Completely ruins me,
The very foundation of my existence
Will rise up again from those love ruins.
Hafiz Shirazi ~ my translation

برو به کار خود ای واعظ این چه فریاد است
مراد فتاد دل از کف، تو را چه افتادست
گر چه مستی عشقم خراب کرد ولی
اساس هستی من زان خراب آبادست
حافظ شیرازی


That fake and so called pious Muslim
Doesn't have even the slightest idea 
How I'm actually feeling these days.
So whatever he tries over-preaching,
I'm going to simply ignore him!

On our path of spirituality,
The bigger the fork in the road,
The greater the reward for the seeker.

O my heart,
No genuine seeker can ever go astray 
From our spiritual path of righteousness.
Hafiz Shirazi ~ my translation

زاهد ظاهرپرست از حال ماآگاه نیست
درحق ما هرچه گوید جای هیچ اکراه نیست
درطریقت هرچه پیش سالک آید خیر اوست
درصراط مستقیم ای دل کسی گمراه نیست
حافظ شیرازی


My only reason for entering
A Mosque or a Tavern
Is seeking Your union.

Other than that,
Lord You are my witness
How much I detest
Visiting those kind of places!
Hafiz Shirazi ~ my translation

غرض ز مسجد و میخانه‌ام وصال شماست
جز این خیال ندارم خدا گواه من است
حافظ شیرازی


Good News O Heart,
The sweet-breathed Christ is coming.
From the sweet fragrances of Jesus,
Someone else's aroma is also coming
[The Smell of God].
Hafiz Shirazi ~ my translation

مژده ای دل که مسیحا نفسی می‌آید
که ز انفاس خوشش بوی کسی می‌آید
  حافظ شيرازي

If the grace of Holy Spirit
Is bestowed again,
Everyone will follow the Way of Christ.
Hafiz Shirazi ~ my translation

فیض روح القدس ار باز مدد فرماید
دیگران هم بکنند آن چه مسیحا می‌کرد
  حافظ شيرازي

If you rise up to heaven-
Pure and celibate like Christ-
Your light will also beam
A hundred rays of lights
Into the shining bright Sun.
Hafiz Shirazi ~ my translation

گر روی پاک و مجرد چو مسیحا به فلک

از چراغ تو به خورشید رسد صد پرتو
 حافظ شيرازي

My sorrows were weighing heavily upon me
Until Lord sent down Jesus
Who took away all my pains and sorrows.
Hafiz Shirazi ~ my translation

بار غمی که خاطر ما خسته کرده بود

عیسی دمی خدا بفرستاد و برگرفت
 حافظ شيرازي

I lost my soul to the red wine
While Hafiz got burned by the fire of love.
Where is Jesus to resurrect us both?
Hafiz Shirazi ~ my translation

جان رفت در سر می و حافظ به عشق سوخت
عیسی دمی کجاست که احیای ما کند
 حافظ شيرازي

Christ is the kindest and most caring doctor of love.
But how can Jesus possibly heal you
If you keep hiding your pain from him?
Hafiz Shirazi ~ my translation

طبیب عشق ، مسیحا دَم است و مشفق لیک

چو درد در تو نبیند ، که را دوا بِکُنَد؟
 حافظ شيرازي

In Love, there is no difference
Between a Tavern and a Sufi Convent.
Wherever a ray of light shines
It's the pure reflection of the Beloved.

What gives a Christian Monastery its splendors
Are its Monks, Church Bells and Crosses.

The Beloved always watches over any lover
Who madly falls madly in love with Him.

O Hafiz, 
The love doctor (Jesus) is always here,
It's the pain-stricken patient who's a no-show!
Hafiz Shirazi ~ my translation

در عشق خانقاه و خرابات فرق نیست

هرجا که هست پرتو ، روی حبیب هست
آنجا که کار صومعه را جلوه می دهند
ناقوس دِیر راهب و نام صلیب هست
عاشق که شد که یار به حالش نظر نکرد
ای خواجه ، درد نیست وگرنه طبیب هست
 حافظ شيرازي

مطالعهء این کتاب پرارزش را برای همهء رندان وعاشقان حافظ توصیه میکنم

کتاب: درس حافظ - نقد و شرح غزل های حافظ 
نویسنده: دکتر محمد استعلامی
تعداد صفحات: ۱۳۰۰

همان طور که از عنوان کتاب بر می آید، دکتر استعلامی در این کتاب شیوه های تدریس حافظ در کلاس درس را بیان داشته اند. از نقاط قوت این کتاب، این است که همه ی غزل ها را شرح داده است

مطالعهء این کتاب پرارزش را برای همهء رندان وعاشقان حافظ توصیه میکنم

دربارهء زندگی و اندیشهء حافظ
نویسنده: دکتر عبدالحسین زرین کوب
۳۰۰ :تعداد صفحات

از کوچهٔ رندان کتابی نوشته دکترعبدالحسین زرین‌ کوب است. این اثر راه تازه‌ای به شناخت حافظ درباره زندگی و اندیشه او به خواننده ارائه می‌دهد. این کتاب، غزلیات حافظ را مورد بررسی قرار داده و خصوصیات حافظ، احوال و افکار وی را بیان و شرح می‌دارد

مطالعهء این کتاب پرارزش را برای همهء رندان وعاشقان حافظ توصیه میکنم

نویسندهعلی دشتی
۳۴۰ :تعداد صفحات

هنر حافظ, هنر خاصّی است: خیّام و سعدی و مولانا را بهم درمی‌آمیزد, ادب درخشانی می‌آفریند كه بی‌اختیار, انسان از خود می‌پرسد: پس از حافظ, دیگر چرا مردم شعر گفته‌اند؟ 

نقشی از حافظ, زنده یاد علی دشتی, ص۲۰۴

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Thank you for visiting Maulana Rumi Online, a blog dedicated entirely to the life, works and teachings of Maulana Jalaluddin Muhammad Balkhi better known simply as Rumi here in our beloved America. Just as a memory refresher, all articles, e-books, images, links and reading materials listed in this Blog are solely for Educational purposes. This Blog is designed and maintained by yours truly, your comments, critiques or suggestions are quite welcome and greatly appreciated. As for my own Rumi Translations, you are welcome to copy and use them as long as it's not for commercial purposes. For best viewing, please try this Blog on Google Chrome Browser. This is a very long Blog though, so please make sure to use the Scroll To Top or Bottom Buttons at the left side, or Back To Top Button at the bottom right corner of your screen for smooth navigation. If you have any question, comment, critique or suggestion, please contact me by clicking the Contact Box embedded at the right middle corner. As Rumi would say, "Come, come, whoever you are, come back again.."!

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