By Hafiz

Forget every idea of right and wrong
Any classroom ever taught you

An empty heart, a tormented mind,
Unkindness, jealousy and fear

Are always the testimony
You have been completely fooled!

Turn your back on those
Who would imprison your wondrous spirit
With deceit and lies.

Come, join the honest company
Of the King’s beggars –
Those gamblers, scoundrels and divine clowns
And those astonishing fair courtesans
Who need Divine Love every night.

Come, join the courageous
Who have no choice
But to bet their entire world
That indeed,
Indeed, God is Real.

I will lead you into the Circle
Of the Beloved’s cunning thieves,
Those playful royal rogues –
The ones you can trust for true guidance –
Who can aid you
In this Blessed Calamity of life.
Look at the Perfect One
At the Circle’s Center:

He Spins and Whirls like a Golden Compass,
Beyond all that is Rational,

To show this dear world

That Everything,
Everything in Existence
Does point to God.

Today’s poem is in the public domain, belongs to the masses, and appears here today accordingly.

Khāja Shamsu Dīn Muhammad Hāfiz-e Shīrāzī (Persian: خواجه شمس‌ دین محمد حافظ شیرازی‎), known by his pen name Hāfiz (1325/1326–1389/1390), was a Persian lyric poet. His collected works composed of series of Persian poetry (Divan) are to be found in the homes of most Persian speakers in Iran, as well as elsewhere in the world, who learn his poems by heart and use them as proverbs and sayings to this day. His life and poems have been the subject of much analysis, commentary and interpretation, influencing post-fourteenth century Persian writing more than any other author. (Annotated biography of Hafiz courtesy of Wikipedia, with edits.)

Editor’s Note: I am a little worried that my editor here at As It Ought To Be is going to think I’ve hijacked this series to spread the word of God. But then, if he knew I was raised by a Jewish Pagan Priestess to the Goddess and that I myself am a Pantheist, perhaps he wouldn’t worry too much. For me, God is nature is the universe is human beings is the earth is love is peace is Socialism is human kindness. So when I share poetry of faith here, it is meant to extend far beyond the borders of religion or other human constructs.

My mother sent me today’s poem when I told her about Father Kilian McDonnell, my poetry doppelganger in the form of a 90-year-old Catholic priest, and so I thought to follow last week’s entry in this series with today’s accordingly. Here’s to a love that lights the whole sky.

Want to see more by Hafiz? Teachings of Hafiz
The Songs of Hafiz
Poet Seers

About Sivan Butler-Rotholz

Sivan is the Managing Editor of the Saturday Poetry Series on As It Ought To Be and holds an MFA from Brooklyn College. She is a professor, writer, editor, comic artist, and attorney emerita. She is also the founder of Reviving Herstory. Sivan welcomes feedback, poetry submissions, and solicitations of her writing via email at sivan.sf [at] gmail [dot] com.
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  1. kat says:

    Love Hafiz! Thank you so much for posting.

  2. Maya Elashi says:

    “Turn your back on those who would imprison your wondrous spirit with deceit and lies.”
    How appropriate this particular line in the aftermath of the repugnant convention w/all those dyed-black heads of hair spewing lies, lies, and more lies (one wonders, might it be the chemicals that’ve seeped into their brains?).

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