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The God who only knows four words

Every child has known God,

Not the God of names,

Not the God of don'ts,

Not the God who ever does anything weird.

But the God who only knows four words

And keeps repeating them, saying:

"Come dance with Me."

Come dance.


I sometimes forget

that I was created for Joy.

My mind is too busy.

My Heart is too heavy

for me to remember

that I have been

called to dance

the Sacred dance of life.

I was created to smile

To Love

To be lifted up

And to lift others up.

O’ Sacred One

Untangle my feet

from all that ensnares.

Free my soul.

That we might


and that our dancing

might be contagious.

Deepening The Wonder

Death is a favour to us,

But our scales have lost their balance.

The impermanence of the body

Should give us great clarity,

Deepening the wonder in our senses and eyes

Of this mysterious existence we share

And are surely just traveling through.

If I were in the Tavern tonight,

Hafiz would call for drinks

And as the Master poured, I would be reminded

That all I know of life and myself is that

We are just a mid-air flight of golden wine

Between His Pitcher and His Cup.

If I were in the Tavern tonight,

I would buy freely for everyone in this world

Because our marriage with the Cruel Beauty

Of time and space cannot endure very long.

Death is a favour to us,

But our minds have lost their balance.

The miraculous existence and impermanence of Form

Always makes the illuminated ones

Laugh and Sing.

Ode 44

Last night, as half asleep I dreaming lay,

Half naked came she in her little shift,

With tilted glass, and verses on her lips;

Narcissus-eyes all shining for the fray,

Filled full of frolic to her wine-red lips,

Warm as a dewy rose, sudden she slips

Into my bed – just in her little shift.

Said she, half naked, half asleep, half heard,

With a soft sigh betwixt each lazy word,

‘Oh my old lover, do you sleep or wake!’

And instant I sat upright for her sake,

And drank whatever wine she poured for me –

Wine of the tavern, or vintage it might be

Of Heaven’s own vine: he surely were a churl

Who refused wine poured out by such a girl,

A double traitor he to wine and love.

Go to, thou puritan! the gods above

Ordained this wine for us, but not for thee;

Drunkards we are by a divine decree,

Yea, by the special privilege of heaven

Foredoomed to drink and foreordained forgiven.

Ah! HAFIZ, you are not the only man

Who promised penitence and broke down after;

For who can keep so hard a promise, man,

With wine and woman brimming o’er with laughter!

O knotted locks, filled like a flower with scent,

How have you ravished this poor penitent!

Translation Richard Le Gallienne

Ghazal 1

Come, boy, and pass the wine around –

Love seemed a simple game

When I encountered it …. but then

The difficulties came!

In longing for the musky scent

The breeze brings from her hair,

Such blood wells up in lovers’ hearts,

Such suffering and despair….

What can ensure my happiness,

At love’s stage, in my heart?

When every instant now the bell

Cries: “Load up, to depart!”

And if the wine-seller says wine

Should dye your prayer mat … dye it!

Pilgrims should know each stage’s rule

And seek to satisfy it.

On this dark night, amidst these waves,

The whirlpool’s fearsome roar

What can they know of our distress

Who watch us from the shore?

In all I’ve done, I’ve pleased myself,

It’s ruined my good name –

The secret ’s out, and everywhere

Men talk about my shame.

Don’t hide from him you seek, Hafez;

You cannot hope to find

The One you’re looking for until

You leave the world behind.

Ghazal 2

I pine away. Sages, plead with God for my woe

Alas, my secret pain, the world is soon to know

Our bark has stranded; O gentle breeze, arise!

That we may visit the friend we so dearly prize

The ten-day favor of the sphere is a tale untrue

Friend! Goodness to friends is a trait to pursue!

Yester eve, in festivity, the bulbul tuned a song'

'Saki! Bring wine! Come to life! O drunken throng! '

Noble soul! God blessed you with rigor and grace

So, seek - at least - to cheer up this dervish's face

Peace in the two worlds, these remarks clearly show

'Love to every friend and civility to every foe.'

Upon the path of honor, denied was my range

Should you not approve it, seek my fate to change

That bitter wine known to the Sufi a sin to be

Tastes much sweeter than a maiden kiss to me

In times of distress, rejoice and trouble not to learn

This alchemy of life can beggar to Croesus turn

Be mild! Burn as a taper from jealousy overmuch

Adamant melts like wax under the beloved's touch

Alexander's mirror is the same wine bowl. Behold

Everything in Darab's kingdom reflected in its mold

Speakers of sweet Persian, the water of life dispense

Saki! Hasten and give this word to pious men of sense

Hafiz declined to don this wine-stained cowl

O upright Master! Hold us innocent of this foul

Ghazal 3

That beautiful Shirazi Turk, took control and my heart stole,
I'll give Samarkand & Bukhara, for her Hindu beauty mole.
O wine-bearer bring me wine, such wine not found in Heavens
By running brooks,  in flowery fields, spend your days and stroll.
Alas, these sweet gypsy clowns, these agitators of our town
Took the patience of my heart, like looting Turks take their toll.
Such unfinished love as ours, the Beloved has no need,
For the Perfect Beauty, frills and adornments play no role.
I came to know Joseph's goodness, that daily would increase
Even the chaste Mistress succumbed to the love she would extol.
Whether profane or even cursed, I'll reply only in praise
Sweetness of tongue and the lips, even bitterness would enthrall.
Heed the advice of the wise, make your most endeared goal,
The fortunate blessed youth, listen to the old wise soul.
Tell tales of song and wine, seek not secrets of the world,
None has found and no-one will, knowledge leaves this riddle whole.
You composed poems and sang, Hafiz, you spent your days well
Venus wedded to your songs, in the firmaments' inverted bowl.


Die beeldschone Turkse uit Shirazi

Nam de touwtjes in handen en stal mijn hart;

Ik geef Samarkand en Bokhara voor die

Hindoe schoonheidsvlek waar ze mij steeds mee tart.


Ghazal 11

O wine-bearer brighten my cup with the wine
O minstrel say good fortune is now mine.
The face of my Beloved is reflected in my cup
Little you know why with wine, I always myself align.
Eternal is the one whose heart has awakened to Love
This is how Eternal Records my life define.
So proud are the tall beauties of the world
Outshines all the others this handsome spruce of mine.
O breeze if by chance you pass through friendly gardens
From me to my Beloved, please give a sign;
Ask why you choose to forget my name?
Will come the one to whom an audience you decline.
Intoxication pleases my Beloved and my Lord
To the wine, they would assign, my life's design.
What if on Judgment Day, no favor would be gained
From eating bread and leaving a forbidden water so fine?
Hafiz, let a tear drop or two leave your eyes,
May we ensnare the Bird of Union, divine.
The sea of the skies and the gondola of the moon
With the grace of the Master, radiantly shine.

O wijndrager, verblijdt mijn kelk met wijn, gezwind!

O minstreel, breng me het lot, mij goed gezind.

Het aangezicht van mijn Geliefde flonkert in mijn kelk,

Je kunt haast niet bevatten waarom ik de wijn omhels.

Eeuwig leeft hij wiens hart voor de Liefde is ontwaakt

Zo zullen de Eeuwigheidsboeken mijn balans hebben opgemaakt.

Ghazal 46

Amidst flowers, wine in hand, my lover I embrace

King of the world is my slave on such a day in such a place.

Bring no candles to this, our festive feast, tonight

Full moon is pale beside the light of my lover's face.

Drinking of wine, our creed has sanctified

Yet without you, drinking wine is disgrace.

My ears only hear the song of the harp and the reed

My eyes see your ruby lips, and the cup chase.

Keep perfumes away from our feast tonight

The fragrance of your hair, our feast will grace.

Speak not to me of sweetness of candy and sugar;

Since my lips, sweetness of your lips, did once trace.

Your treasures are hidden in the ruins of my heart

And my path to the tavern has now become sacred space.

Speak not of disgrace; that's my fame and my base

And fame and high place, I despise and debase.

Drunk and disconcerted and demented and deceived

Show me one who's not, within our town and our race.

Fault not the pious one, because he, also, like us,

Is seeking love and grace, in his own way, at his own pace.

Hafiz, wine in hand, always your lover embrace

'Cause flowers and joy fill this festive time and space.

Ghazal 47

Whoever had found his way to the tavern’s block

Would have to be insane if on another door knock

Fate never crowned any with drunkenness, except

The one who considered this the highest luck.

Whoever finds his way into the tavern

From the bounty of the wine, temple’s secrets unlock.

He who read the secrets of this wine,

Found the secrets in the dust upon which we walk.

Only seek the obedience of the insane

In our creed, logic and sanity we mock.

My heart asked not for longevity of beauty

Because sadly this is the way of the clock.

From the pain of the fading morning star at dawn

I cried so much that I saw the moon, though Venus my eyes struck.

Who talks about the story of Hafiz and his cup?

Why would the king know where the policemen flock?

Praise the King who considers the nine heavens

A mere crevice in His courtly block.